April 1, 2015

30 sex offenders could be left without a home in Pinellas County

4-1-15 Florida:

A tenant-landlord dispute may leave 30 convicted sex offenders without a place to live in Pinellas County.

The Palace Mobile Home Park is home to 150 convicted sex offenders.

"I had molested my 8-year-old son. I was sentenced to 11 years in prison followed by 15 on probation,” said Tracy Hutchinson, one of the park’s residents.

Hutchinson and other residents of the park are trying to get back on their feet.

"There isn't anywhere else, unless I want to live in the woods somewhere,” she said.

Jim Broderick runs Florida Justice Transitions, a program to help sex offenders return to society. But a two-year legal battle with the mobile home land owner could mean 30 sex offenders living in 14 trailers could soon be out on the street.

"If I lose those units, come noon time on Monday, it's out of my hands,” Broderick said.

That possibility is leaving nearby homeowners concerned.

"I don't like it. I mean, I wouldn't want my kids to be in danger. I mean, they ride their bike up and down the street all the time,” one parent told ABC Action News.

Lou Ellis and his wife have lived in the neighborhood for close to 35 years and says the news is disturbing.

"I sit there with my door open so I can see outside, see what's going on,” Ellis said. “But I'll have to start locking it, I guess, if that's the case."

Broderick says he has until noon Monday to deposit $16,000 into the court registry or he loses the 14 mobile home units. ..Source.. by Gina Pitisci

Sex offenders could be ousted from mobile home park

St. Petersburg, Florida — Dozens of sex offenders living in a mobile home park could be evicted, putting neighbors on edge.

The program that provides housing to those 30 sex offenders is just days away from getting kicked off of the property.

Families worry what neighborhood they'll end up calling home if they're put out on the street.

"If they don't have a place to live, if they can't live where they're living, some of them may find some housing elsewhere, but it's gonna be very difficult," said Jim Broderick.

As a sex offender himself Broderick knows first hand how hard it is to live with that label.

He says that's why he runs Florida Justice Transitions.

"We bring sex offenders from incarceration and we transition them back into society," he said.

The program is based at the Palace Mobile Home Park, 2500 54th Ave. N., in St. Petersburg, but after a monthslong legal battle with the property owner, the company is in jeopardy.

Broderick says that Florida Justice Transitions has to put $16,000 into a court registry by Saturday, otherwise the 30 sex offenders living in the mobile home park might be kicked out, leaving many wondering where they'll go.

Registered sex offender Bruce Edmondson says he got out of prison a year ago after molesting his daughter. And the program?

"As a person, it's just helped me a lot. It's given me hope. And a lot of us don't have any hope," he said.

Edmondson says if he's evicted from his home at the mobile home park, "that means i'll probably be living out in the woods."

And the thought of 30 sex offenders looking for a place to stay doesn't sit well with neighbors who live less than a mile from the mobile home park.

"I'm scared. I don't like them living there, and i know everyone needs a place to live, but as the story goes, not in my backyard," neighbor Mary Muller said.

But park property owner Jeff Shadowens says even if Florida Justice Transitions is forced out, its tenants have nothing to fear.

"We have been renting and helping sex offenders for several years, and we intend to keep on doing that," he said.

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