Sex Offenders Moving In Causes Eviction for Other Residents
When a person is convicted of a sex crime, after serving the sentence in prison, the defendant must register as a sex offender immediately after release. Sex offender registration is a public record. Anyone who requests this information as access to it including potential employers, landowners, fellow residents, or even school officials. Being a registered sex offender severely limits one’s freedom and ability to make independent choices. While this can be difficult for the offender, what happens to those people who co-exist in the communities with sex offenders?
Sex Offender Migration in Pahokee
Sex offenders that have been released after serving their sentences have an extremely difficult time setting up lives for themselves. Being a registered sex offender is public knowledge and can limit even the most basic freedoms including where one can and cannot live.
In an effort to curb this issue, a prison minister wanted to create a community where sex offenders could live without scrutiny. However, he chose the community called Pelican Lake Village in 2008 to set up his Miracle Park, encroaching on the lives of 13 adults and 26 children. These families were forced to move due to the influx of registered sex offenders moving into town.
The owners of the community simply sent out a notice warning residents that if they had children, they must move or face eviction. In an outrage, the residents filed suit against the community. The jury of the case recently awarded $1 million to the residents who were forcibly evicted.
According to the Palm Beach Post:
“Families were just jettisoned to bring in sex offenders,” said Vince Larkins, president and CEO of the fair housing agency. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on familial status.
It is a difficult predicament because Florida law also makes it illegal for sex offenders to live within a certain distance of where children gather. These families were forced to leave their homes so the prison minister could provide housing for men and women who’s shameful pasts are publicized to local residents.
Sex Crime Criminal Defense
If you have been accused of committing a sex crime, contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. It is crucial that you get the legal help you need because if you are not fairly represented in your trial and the case results in a conviction, your entire life will change and not for the better. Being a registered sex offender will limit every aspect of your life. Call a criminal defense lawyer today.