A Florida sex offender who won $3m in the lottery is being sued by two men he was convicted of abusing as boys.
Timothy Poole, 43, took a $2.2m lump sum payout in early December, after he bought a $20 scratch-off lottery ticket in Mount Dora, Florida, about 30 miles north of Orlando. The state lottery published Poole’s picture with an oversized $3m check, but removed it when it was widely publicized that Poole was a sex offender.
In 2002, Poole pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery of two children, according to Orange County court records. The charges stemmed from abuse that occurred in 1997. Poole was sentenced to time served with probation, but spent time in prison after missing counseling appointments in 2003, according to Orange County court records and CBS affiliate 10News .
The two victims, who were ages 6 and 11 when they were abused by Poole, filed suit in the same court system on 22 December, asking the court to freeze Poole’s assets. According to Florida sex offender records, since winning the lottery Poole has moved to Mineral Springs, West Virginia.
“For those people who say, ‘He paid his price to society. Why are these young men going after him?’ I would say we don’t disagree he paid his price to society by his prison sentence he served,” attorney Mark NeJame told News13, a Florida television news station .
“But he never paid his price to these children for what they’ve lost, and that’s what we are addressing.”
The lawsuit is possible because in 2010 the Florida legislature removed the statute of limitations for civil suits against accused sexual abusers, if victims were younger than 16 when they were victimized.
Legislators in other states, such as Massachusetts, where a registered sex offender won $10m , have attempted to bar sex offenders from recouping lottery rewards.
Before winning the lottery, Poole worked as a taxi driver for Triangle Cab, his mother’s business, in Lake County, Florida. In October, he told reporters at WKMG he posed no risk to his passengers.
“It may be hard for some to believe, but sometimes people are wrongly accused,” he said .
Poole has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.
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