The Associated Press reports that a Florida minister is recruiting sex offenders to live at “Miracle Park,” a cluster of buildings surrounding his small church near Pahokee, a sugar cane farming community near the Everglades. Opened eight months ago, the complex is now home to about 35 sex offenders recruited by the minister, Richard Witherow, who distributes brochures in Florida prisons and plugs the place in sermons at the lockups.
“Leaving prison or jail soon? … Do you have special requirements concerning where you can and cannot live? You may have just found the answer to your prayers,” reads the pamphlet advertising the privately operated, 24-acre village. Pahokee residents say they fear for their children’s safety. The ex-cons have served time for various charges, including sexual battery on children and molestation. “There’s just too many in one place,” said Pahokee Mayor Wayne Whitaker. “It’s very, very risky.”