Miami sex offenders form outcast colony

May 3, 2009 at 8:10 PM
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MIAMI, May 3 (UPI) -- A growing colony of sex offenders says members are being forced to live as outcasts under a Miami causeway because of strict sexual predator laws.

In 2006, there were seven convicted rapists and child molesters who had registered with Miami-Dade County officials as living in tents and shacks under the Julia Tuttle Causeway connecting Miami Beach and the mainland. Now there are 65 men and one woman among the colony, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

They say they're forced to live there because of a county ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of where children congregate -- leaving nowhere in the county to live except the airport, the Everglades or under the causeway, the newspaper said.

"People call this place a camp, like it's pretty and fun," Osvaldo Castillo, 29, who was convicted of molesting a 6-year-old boy, told the Herald. "It's not fun at all. We are living like animals and trying to make the best of it."

"Now, we gotta be our own city," added Juan Carlos Martin, convicted of exposing himself to a 15-year-old girl. "Every attempt we've made to fight this has failed, so we have to make this work."

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