WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4/ AP) —A judge ruled that a religious group in Palm Beach County violated federal law after it evicted families from a complex in order to house former inmates.


According to Civil rights lawyers, Matthew 25 Ministries and property owner Alston Management evicted families so convicted sex offenders could move in. U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas ruled this week that the group’s action violated the federal Fair Housing Act which prohibits discrimination based on familial status.


But Pastor Dick Witherow, who leased the complex from Alston Management, told the Palm Beach Post the complex is the only place in the county where sex offenders could live without violating laws that bar them from living near places where children gather.


Former tenants of the one-time migrant worker camp sued. A mediation session is scheduled for Nov. 18.


(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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