Cape Coral mother wishes she knew sex offenders lived in nearby ‘recovery home’

Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
cape coral

A Cape Coral mother is concerned after learning that sex offenders living in her neighborhood were brought there for recovery from other issues.

Mandy Wells thought her neighborhood was full of families just like hers, but now she’s learning that isn’t the case. “A neighbor of mine brought to my attention that there was a house full of sex offenders.”

Just a little over a mile away from her house sits a recovery home. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, eight men registered as sex offenders live there.

Wells did her homework when she moved to the Cape five years ago, but now she worries day and night. “I was astonished,” she said.

So, Wells decided to fight. First, she took it to the City of Cape Coral and they told her nothing could be done. “Zoning and code both told me there were no crimes being committed. They couldn’t stop the house from operating, that it’s the parole board that watches over the house.”

Then, she thought since the home operated by Serenity Recovery Living is not verified by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, that might make a difference. But, it didn’t change anything either.

Federal law protects sober homes from local and state oversight. This means that cities can not specify where sober homes can be located, who can live there, or how many people at a time can live there.

“I felt defeated and just thought well, how do we close this loophole?” Wells asked.

She hopes everyone learns from her mistake and gets to know their neighbors before moving in.

“The house isn’t next door to me today but what is stopping a house like this from being next door to me tomorrow?”

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