Sex offender Timothy Poole won Florida’s lottery jackpot, according to ABC News on Thursday. Poole, 43, reportedly won $3 million after purchasing a lottery ticket in Mount Dora, Florida. In 2002, Poole was convicted of sexual battery on a child under 12.
The Huffington Post reports that Poole pled guilty to attempted sexual battery on a 9-year-old boy after an arrest in 1999. Poole initially denied guilt but eventually pled guilty in a plea bargain that sent him to prison for three years. Poole was released in 2006 and registered as a sex offender in Florida.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website for sexual offenders and predators, Poole is listed as “No longer under any form of confinement, supervision or any other court-imposed sanction. Still required to register in accordance with Florida law.” Poole’s name and photo recently surfaced on the Florida lottery website as a Super Millions winner but was later removed.
Communications manager for the Florida Lottery, Shelly Gerteisen, said that the Florida lottery chose not to draw additional attention to this particular winner after hearing from media about his past. However, Florida law does not prohibit Poole from collecting his one-time lump-sum payment of $2,219,807.90. Floyd Snyder, a friend of Poole, said that he “believes his friend should enjoy the $3 million lottery jackpot.” Snyder went on to say that Poole is very kind and giving.
Poole insists he is innocent and never sexually molested the young boy. Poole was reportedly a friend of the victim’s family. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the boy spent several weekends at Poole’s home where they would sleep in the same bed. Said Poole, “It may be hard for some to believe, but sometimes people are wrongly accused.” Poole has had no other trouble with the law since his release from prison in 2006, even though Florida records show that Poole has been previously arrested 12 other times on charges ranging from forging checks to grand theft to stolen food stamps.
Poole’s $20 winning scratch-off ticket was apparently purchased at a 7-Eleven store in Mount Dora, Florida on Saturday night. When news of his winnings hit the Internet, Poole was quickly recognized as a convicted sex offender. Poole currently works as a taxi driver at his family’s company Triangle Cabs in Mount Dora, Florida. Poole could not be reached for comment on his lottery winnings at his workplace or his home. According to Snyder, Poole is planning to use some of his millions to expand his mother’s small taxi business.
Critics of Poole’s jackpot say that the universe is “cruel and heartless.” Others claim that Poole went to jail, paid for his crime and won the money fairly. What do you think Poole should do with his $3 million? Should he give some of his winnings to his sexual battery victim as additional restitution? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.