WITH more than 100 unsupervised sex predators living side by side – this notorious trailer park – described as a “hotbed of drugs and hookers” – may be one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the US.
From the outside, Palace Mobile Home Park – dubbed “Pervert Park” – looks just like any other trailer village – full of Americans scraping by on minimum wage or less.
It’s mainly eerily silent and still, aside from the occasional sighting of a man shuffling to the mailbox, or a browbeaten resident sitting outside their trailer puffing on cigarettes while he watches the world go by.
But Sun Online’s exclusive investigation into the community reveals local residents outside the park live in fear.
Ambiguously declaring itself an “adult community”, Palace Park houses 100 mostly unsupervised registered sex offenders, aged between 25 and 91 who pay $375 per month to share shabby trailers and communal bathrooms.
The residents’ crimes range from being busted looking at child pornography, soliciting minors online for sex, through to molesting their own children.
Some of them were systematically abused themselves throughout their own childhood and admit they’ve repeated the pattern, while others insist that they hold university degrees or are family men and claim police lured them in online paedophile ring stings.
A neighbour to the Saint Petersburg, Florida park – who refused to be named because his own father is a resident – told Sun Online that the theory is the offenders can be reintegrated into society after serving prison time.
“But you should see and hear this place at night,” he says.
“It’s a hotbed of drugs and hookers – and the hookers know who they’re sleeping with, and they don’t care.”
While the surrounding neighbourhood is known for drug dealers and prostitution rings, it is also home to elderly people and young families, who are terrified of the sex offender compound at the top of the street, where residents are free to come and go as they please as long as they don’t go within 1,000 feet of a school.
Destara Anderson, a mom of three girls aged 15, 10, and nine, lives just metres from Palace Park – and only found out about what it really was a year after she moved into her modest home with her husband, their girls, and a wheelchair-bound mother-in-law.
“A work colleague told me about it and I was shocked. It was really upsetting. My youngest walks past there every day which worries me, and I don’t let my kids play outside anymore,” she says.
“The local sheriff is keeping an eye on it – there’s always cops by the bus stop before and after school, and they distribute flyers whenever a new offender moves in.”
Retiree Sarah Walls, who lives one block from the park, adds, “There’s always hookers parading up and down the street, it’s rife with drugs.
“When my adorable little granddaughter comes to visit, we have to rush her from the car into her grandpa’s house just up the street [closer to the park].
“I’ve been here five years. I’m going to have to leave soon.”
Some Palace Park residents wear court-mandated ankle-brace tracking devices or are required to check in with police regularly as part of their parole conditions – but otherwise are free to come and go as they please.
The facility was the subject of 2014 documentary “Pervert Park” but operators claim claim that none of their residents has ever re-offended.
“We provide a safe place for sex offenders to return from prison and begin transitioning back into society,” the park’s website reads.
“Palace Mobile Home Park has provided housing for sex offenders for over a decade.
“We provide safe, affordable housing, while offering guidance and services to help an individual return to a normal life after incarceration. In our existence, no resident has been convicted of a new sex offence.”
They also says residents are offered on-site church and counselling services, plus AA and NA meetings.
However the park’s management told Sun Online that they don’t provide supervision – and any supervision that residents do get is provided by the Department of Corrections and only for those on parole.
WHAT THE PARK’S MANAGEMENT SAYS
Douglas Baldwin, one of the managers at the park, told Sun Online the park is generally “quiet” with a very low crime rate and they had not had a resident commit a sex offence since they opened.
He said: “We’ve become somewhat of a refuge simply because the rest of the society wants to pass everybody on. If you’re not allowed to be any place else except out in the street, a place like this becomes important.
“We are a mobile home park that just happens to rent predominantly to registered sex offenders. So the supervision they get – if they get any – is typically through the Department of Corrections because a great number of them are on probation.
“There is also a little bit of self policing because you don’t want one roommate within a trailer to bring down the whole place by misbehaving. That’s part of why there’s such a low rate of re-offending because the other people would be endangered by that so if they think something’s going on – they tend to report it.
“In terms of drugs and hookers – if we catch them they are evicted strait away. We’re not fenced in and sometimes people might sneak in but we certainly don’t condone it, and if we find out, they’re out.
“The tendency is to say ‘These people can’t live here they should go away’ but you soon run out of places to send them. So unless you’re just going to put a death sentence on everyone we have to deal with it. The vast majority of people here are not the people they were when their offence was commited.”
A St. Petersburg police spokeswoman confirmed there were no special supervision measures in place for Palace Park.
She said: “Whenever a person is registered as a sex offender there are restrictions on where they can live based on guidelines.
“Sex offenders have a probation officer and are monitored through the courts but police don’t get involved unless a crime has happened or one is in progress.
“That is just way the system is set up. If there are complaints or a specific issue police will take care of that.
SEX, SPIES AND LIES
Explosive dossier on Trump’s sex claims was ‘FABRICATED by ex-MI6 spy’
Car ‘smashes’ Covington Catholic students’ bus on way back from pro-life march
NYPD cop dad ‘taunted autistic son’ with ‘boo f***ing hoo’ as he died of hypothermia
Mom and two daughters left ‘humiliated’ when told ‘they’re too big to fly’
Boy, 4, dies after dad’s concealed gun falls & fires as they play-wrestle
“We can’t and don’t just sit on people and wait for them to do something wrong. If someone is concerned about residents’ behaviour they can always call us.”
Many psychologists and psychiatrists have spoken out about the Palace Park’s philosophy.
LA-based Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Carole Lieberman said: “The only time something good could come out of a bunch of sex offenders living together, would be if they were in a forensic psychiatric hospital and getting treatment.”
GOT a story? EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org