- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A small Florida community that sits on the edge of the everglades is called home to more than 100 parents, teachers and coaches — all of whom are registered sex offenders.

Half of the population at Miracle Village have abused minors, viewed child pornography or even molested their own children, according to a report by The Daily Mail.

Miracle Village was built in the 1960s to house sugar cane workers, but in 2009 the late Dick Witherow, a pastor with the Christian group Matthew 25 Ministries, opened the community up to sex offenders, The Mail reported.

Florida law prohibits offenders from living within 1,000 feet of where children gather. Miracle Village offers those people a place to live away from the restrictions. The community is so popular there are between 10 and 20 applications from potential residents every week, The Mail said.

Jerry Youmans, the intake coordinator for the ministry who is also a registered sex offender, told the BBC that the village does not allow offenders who are convicted of violent sex crimes against strangers.

State laws allow sex offenders to live in the same neighborhood as minors, so there are children living in the neighborhood, although some adults may be banned from having contact with them, The Mail reported.

You can hear more about Miracle Village on BBC World Service Assignment program available to listen online.

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