The backstory behind how the men have now ended up living on Hialeah train tracks only illustrates the absurdity of the restrictions.

By April 2010, the county had closed the Julia Tuttle encampment, while Book's organization, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, used $1 million in public money to find six months of housing for the offenders. Those funds were intended to bridge the men into normalized society: employment, sustainable housing, a new life. Soon, however, the money ran out, and many offenders, still unable to find housing or jobs, were back on the streets.

Others discovered a mobile home community near the Miami River called River Park that seemed to be legal housing. Dozens settled in. But then, last summer, Book's Homeless Trust dispatched a note to Miami-Dade Police, telling them there was a school nearby. "The trailer park houses sex offenders," Elizabeth Regalado, an assistant director at the trust, wrote in an email. "It is infested with crime and criminal activity due to prostitution and drugs."

Andre Moss and dozens of other sex offenders have lived beside the train tracks since June 17, 2011.
Terrence McCoy
Andre Moss and dozens of other sex offenders have lived beside the train tracks since June 17, 2011.
The offenders set up tents on the pavement or sleep on lawn chairs under a warehouse awning.
Terrence McCoy
The offenders set up tents on the pavement or sleep on lawn chairs under a warehouse awning.

At first, according to emails, both police and probation officers thought the offenders at the park were grandfathered in. Plus, many believed evicting the sex offenders wouldn't make kids any safer. "The prostitution and drugs will continue at the park even if the sex offenders leave," one cop wrote. "And there has not been one incident with a sex offender targeting" the kids nearby.

More troubling, there didn't appear to be any place where the offenders could go. "Having to tell irate individuals that they must move once again because a particular site was now labeled a school will make the situation difficult," Lt. Dillian Robin lamented in another internal email.

But such concerns weren't enough to stop the eviction. On September 17, police notified dozens of sex offenders living there that they had to move. The men who were still under parole say they were taken to the train tracks at the intersection of NW 71st Street and NW 36th Court — one of few locations left that satisfies the draconian restrictions. Others simply disappeared. "Sexual predators understand how to work around the law," a police memo noted.

Andre Moss witnessed the influx of predators to the train tracks. In 2007, he was picked up for cocaine possession and given a DNA swab. According to court documents, his DNA years later matched the saliva found on boxers owned by a 17-year-old who'd told police a man had performed fellatio on him at a Liberty City laundromat in 2006. Four years later, Moss was convicted of sexual activity with a minor and spent 16 months in jail.

When he got out, he says, his probation officer gave him "a few weeks" to find housing that was beyond 2,500 feet from a school, but he couldn't.

"That's when they told me about these train tracks and I had to live on the street," he says. That realization crushed his family. "I don't understand what happened," his mother, Gail Moss, wrote the court in October 2011. "Is this what the system is all about? Not helping anyone, by banning him from his family?"

Once at the train tracks, Moss met Kenneth Rozier. The tall 27-year-old with gold-plated teeth had also just arrived after serving time for lascivious battery on a child. In 2005, Rozier, who was then 21, "implied he had a gun and would shoot" a 15-year-old girl if she didn't have sex with him, according to Miami-Dade Police. (Rozier claims the teen was his girlfriend and the sex was consensual.)

Rozier soon found himself wishing he was still incarcerated. "When I was in prison, I had somewhere to sleep, a roof, food. Out here, I don't have any of that. I have to pee in a cup at night. I don't have anywhere to sleep. People crap in the bushes. Most nights I wish I was still locked up."

In those early days, Moss and Rozier say, there were only a dozen offenders living at the train tracks. But last September, droves suddenly arrived with nowhere else to go. They'd all come from River Park after the eviction.

Today the offenders have melted into a new, unhappy life. "They threw us out," explains one fast-talking man who declined to give his name. "Where in the hell was I going to find someplace to stay in one week knowing our status? We ended up running to any place we could find, and it was here."

"Don't we have the right to make ourselves better?" another asks. "How can we do that if every time we try, they close the door on us?"

Around midnight on a recent ­Tuesday, the men settle on the concrete of the parking lot to sleep and don't rustle again until 5:45 the next morning. In the darkness before dawn, a dozen offenders wearily yet hurriedly take down their tents. They say the manager of the nearby warehouse threatened to kick them off his property if they made a mess, and no one wants to endure another move.

A frazzle-haired man gargles some water, takes a swig of cafecito, and schleps his tent back into the bushes before climbing into the bed of a white pickup.

At the strike of 6, offenders take off on bike and foot while watching the white Ford pull away, taillights dissolving into the pale morning light.

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9 comments
val03
val03

The public needs to understand the FACTs Fact (1) the highest rate of (sexually based) re-offend rates dont come from Homeless offenders. They come from those who have been re-integrated back into the community with, jobs, homes and most IMPORTANT" Opportunity". (FACT (2)Homeless offenders are RArely arrested for another SEX crime. They have loitering, shoplifting types of crimes But not Sexually based WHY? No Opportunity. Fact (3) the majority of Homeless offenders and especially the "Julia Tuttle Bridgerats are criminal aliens who cannot be deported back to the respective countries for a Myriad of Reasons. Fact (4) Do your homework, these offenders have made Florida a landing strip for offenders from other states who just Happen to like the beaches better here. Send any offender back to the original state of conviction if he ends up homeless in Florida.

terry2502
terry2502

Boo hoo the perverts are uncomfortable!

vegakeep
vegakeep

@terry2502  I would ask if you are retarded but you answer my question.  Don't you realize that this BS will make the pervs snap and commit any kind of crime to be locked up, at taxpayer expense, resulting in you whine and crying about the pervs and murders and dealers getting out early all the while attending tea party rallies to protest that you are taxed enough?

hubertandsusan
hubertandsusan

@terry2502Seriously!!!  .."Studies also show that living under extreme duress — like sleeping on train tracks or under a bridge — only exacerbates criminal tendencies..."

Well i too live under extreme duress: Right below a major flight path, a snoring husband, high property taxes, constant fear that my child will be snatched by a sexual predator....yet somehow it doesnt compel me to want to go out and kidnap and molest a young child....! Amazing! He who makes his bed has to lie down in it...

vegakeep
vegakeep

@terry2502 @vegakeep this coming from a moron whro has no idea what the difference is between a Sexual Predator and a Sex Offender.

Can you say 'Duh' I bet you can.

hubertandsusan
hubertandsusan

@terry2502 @hubertandsusanI get it. That was the only way I could get my two cents in ...by " Replying"..

I also said that the only thing wrong with the article is that the Pervs weren't run over by the train at night..

bubba353
bubba353

@hubertandsusan @terry2502  Gee Susan, not everyone can be rescued out of abject poverty by marrying a Whale like you did...Complaining about his snoring and the flight path?  You suck, you sound like Moochelle Obama complaining about being a prisoner in the White House

 
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