ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A convicted sex predator, recently sentenced to 62 years in prison for sexually battering a child, may soon be released.
Matthew Tibbetts, 51, was arrested by Apopka police officers in 2016. He was found guilty earlier this year on charges of sexual activity with a child while in familial or custodial authority. Soon he could be released and sitting at home, awaiting his appeal -- all because he can afford the $1 mllion bond.
As part of his release, Tibbetts would be required to wear a GPS tracker, which under Judge John Jordon's order, would be paid for by Tibbetts. The victim's family is disgusted.
"Sick to my stomach! It's very devastating to me, my family and my daughter," said the father of the victim, who is not named in this report. "To put a man with nothing to lose back out in the community, to me that's a travesty."
"GPS monitoring does nothing for public safety. It does zero. We thought we put this to rest, and now they're doing it again," said Rafael Zaldivar, whose son, Alex, was murdered in 2012 by a man who was awaiting a trial, while fitted with a GPS tracker.
Orange County stopped using GPS trackers in 2013, calling them a liability after Zaldivar's murder.
Defense attorney Whitney Boan is not involved in the Tibbetts' case, but she said that if a defendant can afford to pay for a private GPS company to monitor them and the judge approves it, it's still an option.
"People may not realize it, [but] this has still been going on the entire time, in terms of judges utilizing this," she said. "This judge in this case was not 'going rogue' and doing something illegal."
Still, for the victim's family, it's an outrage.
"It's devastating, and creates fear and anxiety," the victim's father said. "I would urge the judge to reconsider."
The next hearing to talk about GPS logistics takes place on June 7.