CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A man’s dream to rehabilitate convicted sex offenders is coming to an end.
Since 2010, 53 sex offenders released from prison have moved in to trailers in Ricky Martin’s backyard. The property is located at 40 County Road 374 in Chilton County. Of those 53 convicted offenders, 32 are convicted rapists and 21 have been convicted of molestation. 43 committed crimes against children.
Martin pastors Triumph Church, also on his property. Neighbors tell WIAT 42 they do not feel safe in their homes.
Debra Morrison lives next door to Martin and the sex offender camp in his backyard.
“Usually when you go to grandma’s house and you want to go swing on the swing, usually that’s ok,” Morrison said. “But not here.”
Morrison’s young grandchildren are frequent visitors to her home.
“When they come to Nana’s, they know that we’ve got to be with them at all times,” Morrison said. “And they’re scared. There’s always fear, even when we go to bed at night.”
Chilton County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson said neighbors will not have to feel that way much longer. A legislative bill was passed recently,requiring sex offenders in Chilton County to live at least 300 feet apart from each other. The seven remaining offenders living on Martin’s property must leave by July 1st.
“This might be the only chance I ever have as a prosecutor to try to take steps on the front end,” Robinson said. “If there’s something I can do to keep a child from being victimized.”
Morrison is thankful her worst fears have not become a reality. She hopes soon, “Nana’s house,” will be a place of carefree fun.
WIAT 42 Reporter Kaitlin McCulley talked with Martin, but he declined to be recorded on camera for this report and would not answer questions on-the-record. His only comment regarding the sex offenders is this: “I hope they continue their relationship with Christ when they leave here.”
(Copyright WIAT 42 News 2014)