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Child abuse investigation uncovers sex offender

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Was not registered in Levy County

By The Staff

Levy County Sheriff's investigators checking out a child abuse complaint found a convicted sex offender who was not registered in Levy County was living in Chiefland with the 6-year-old child's mother and arrested the couple.

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Reggie Coneil Kearney, 37, is charged with one count of felony child abuse and failure to register an address in Levy as required, He is jailed on a $150,000 bond. Kearney was registered at a Gainesville address.

Bobbie Jo Gibbs, the child’s mother, who had witnessed the abuse and did not intervene, was charged with one count of child neglect. She is being held on a $50,000 bond.

The investigators were investigating a complaint made on Tuesday, April 22, by the child's bilogical father who discovered severe bruising on the child’s legs.

The investigators learned that Kearney spanked the child with a belt for disobeying him and playing a video game. The child had injuries more severe and inconsistent with normal discipline, according to a Sheriff's Office press release. Investigators arrested Kearney and charged him with one count of felony child abuse and failure to register an address as a convicted sex offender. Gibbs, who had witnessed the abuse and did not intervene, was charged with one count of child neglect. Kearney is being held at the Levy County Detention Facility on a $150,000 bond and Gibbs is being held on a $50,000 bond.

In 1998 Kearney was sentenced in Gilchrist County to four years on charges of being lewd and lascivious and indecent assault on a child under the age of 16. He was released by the Department of Corrections in 2001, He was also charged with a sex offender violation in Alachua County in 2010, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.