Timothy Poole, 43, recently posed for a picture with his giant $3 million dollar check at the lottery headquarters in Florida. The picture is sparking outrage across the country after it was discovered that Poole is a convicted sexual predator. Many are wondering why such a person was eligible to win anything.
Poole claimed a one-time lump-sum payment of $2,219,807.90 from the Florida Lottery this week. He’d purchased a $20 Super Millions scratch-off and won one of the game’s 12 $3 million top prizes.
In 2001, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested Poole on charges of sexual battery on a victim under 12. In 2002 he pleaded guilty to assaulting two boys. He was sentenced to five years in prison and released in 2006.
In Florida, there is no law that prevents sex offenders from receiving lottery winnings. The Florida Lottery is not legally allowed to withhold winnings because of a person’s criminal record, no matter how bad it is.
“There are no registration laws that would prevent that, but if that offender was under supervision or on probation there could be additional sanctions imposed by the judge,” said Samantha Andrews of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. [Source]
The Florida Lottery has removed Poole’s picture from their website, saying they so not want to draw attention to,”that particular winner.”
The win is angering many because it is a natural reaction to only want “good” people to win good things. Obviously someone who has been convicted of molesting two children is not what society considers to be a “good” person.
It doesn’t matter if he’s served his time, we do not easily forgive sexual predators and with good reason.
That leaves the dilemma of how do we prevent unsavory people from winning things we don’t think they deserve? And even, do we have the right do to that? Isn’t the American criminal justice system all about rehabilitation?