Group Home Director Removed
Lives Go On' at Davie Center

By Donna Gehrke-White
Miami Herald
March 16, 2002

The men at a Davie group home for the disabled were adjusting well Friday after the home's executive director, a former Franciscan priest, was removed for trying to have sex with a child, said a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children & Families.

Their routine hadn't been disrupted. They went to their adult day-care facility, returning to their group home in the evening as usual, said Leslie Mann, Broward public information officer for the Florida Department of Children & Families.

"Their lives go on," she said. "When you look at developmentally disabled adults, these are vulnerable adults and routine is important to them. We wanted to make sure their routine is the same."

The St. Francis Village Group Home's former executive director, Edward Sokol, 57, complied with a hand-delivered letter by the state agency to leave on Thursday. The letter was dispatched after the agency was questioned by The Herald about Sokol's December plea of no contest to a charge of computer pornography.

Jack Moss, the DCF district administrator, said his agency had lost track of the case.

Sokol was arrested last April after he went to a Plantation McDonald's to meet what he thought was a 15-year-old boy to whom he had been e-mailing sexually graphic messages, using the screen name Onurneez2.

Instead, he was arrested by members of a multi-agency task force of undercover officers who pretend to be children cruising the Internet.

At a February court hearing, Sokol's supporters convinced Broward Circuit Court Judge Sheldon Shapiro to withhold adjudication of guilt, sparing him a criminal record and enabling him to remain in charge of the home.

But on Friday, spokeswoman Mann said her agency would never have left the men "on the streets." Instead, she said, the agency swiftly found an attendant to watch over them.


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