Miracle Village in Florida may look like any other rural American community, with its neat houses and church at its heart; but nearly everyone living here is a convicted child sex offender. “I struggle with the stories of grandpa who played touchy feely with the grandchildren”, admits Pastor Patti Auperlee, a Methodist minister in the neighbouring town of Pahokee. “Yes, what they did was wrong – nowhere are we saying that’s not wrong. But they were judged already by the court system – they’ve paid.” A refuge for society’s undesirables, the township of Miracle Village is a Christian Mission whose aim is to provide a supportive home for paedophiles who have served their time, but have been ostracised by family and friends. In a report that’s bound to ignite controversy, we bring you the stories of the residents of this unique settlement. “When I was teaching, I started getting into relationships”, confides Chad Stoffel, the director of the mission. “It sounds terrible, but I was almost reliving high school as a 25-year-old.” For Chad, the dawning realisation that he was attracted to the same sex sparked a spiral of self-loathing and secrecy. “Was I going out of my way to hurt someone? No. I was trying to figure out who I was, and unfortunately I created a victim.” As the neighbouring communities slowly begin to integrate, we are left wondering whether this modern day leper colony deserves compassion or condemnation.
SBS Dateline – Ref 6150A documentary from : Journeyman Pictures