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FL- Advocates Claim Sex Offenders Are Vulnerable

7-30-2009 Florida:

Response As Woman Accused Of Targeting Sex Offender

LAKE WORTH, Fla. -- "The public has become hysterical when you mention the word sex offender," said Dick Witherow.

The ordained minister ought to know what he's talking about when it comes to sex offenders. His Matthew 25 Ministries was the target of wrath early this year when he opened a village for offenders near Pahokee.

"The lives of people are being destroyed all because of the myths that are being promulgated by the news media and everything," said Witherow.

Despite his experience, he is surprised to hear of Carol Wands' arrest. She is the Port St. Lucie woman facing a charge of targeting a sex offender. Prosecutors said she tried to extort $33,000 and a Cadillac from a sex offender after she called off a steamy rendezvous.

Wands at first could not recall her arrest, but then claimed she was the victim of a crime.

"It's never been proven that sex offenders have a higher rate of recidivism or re-offending," said criminal defense attorney Tama Kudman.

Kudman sees how sex offenders and predators easily can become prey.

"Their pictures are often put up, so they're easy to identify," said Kudman. "And they're so loathed, there's not much sympathy for them. So it is very easy to target a sex offender."

Both Kudman and Witherow acknowledge there is little sympathy for a sex offender turned victim. But the reverend said society needs to be a little more rational to people like Wands and those labeled sex offenders.

"They're sinners, just like this guy was a sinner," said Witherow.

Wands is a certified mediator with the state of Florida. That means she helps people settle disputes out of court. People cannot become mediators if they have a felony conviction unless they have a restoration of their civil rights. Staff at the Florida Dispute Resolution Center could not say Thursday what a felony arrest would do to Wands' mediation certification. ..Source.. by WPBF-TV25

See also: Woman Attempts To Extort Sex Offender, Prosecutors Say

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