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article imageOnce Victim, Now Activist Helps Miami Sex Offenders With Housing

By KJ Mullins     Oct 12, 2009 in Crime
When Lauren Book-Lim was a little girl she was victimized by her nanny. The woman she called "Waldy" was both kind and cruel, raping the young girl. Today Book-Lim helps sexual predators that have been forced into tent cities under a bridge in Miami.
Miami laws make it difficult for released sex offenders to find safe shelter. Ordinances ban sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools and playgrounds. Some of those that reside in the encampments were placed there by their own probation officers. Some have driver's licenses that state their residence as "Under the Julia Tuttle Causeway."
There are some that fear that this nomad type of life though will see sex offenders disappearing from the networks that are in place to protect the innocents they prey on.
It's not always easy for Book-Lim to do her work. She has to fight back the pain she suffered at the hands of her attacker often when dealing with those who have molested children.
ABC reports:
"I grew up to trying to help others," she said. "My Dad used to say, the least, the last and forgotten of our society -- it's our job to take care of them."
Book-Lim's attacker, her Honduran nanny beat her daily for close to six years. She never told, afraid of what the woman would do to her parents.
Her parents knew something was wrong, sending their depressed daughter to a therapist.
The abuse grew worse when Book-Lim started dating her now husband, Kris Lim. When the two were seniors in high school Lim saw the bruises. He helped her tell her parents about the abuse and stood by her side.
The nanny was fired. She fled to Oklahoma. A month later she was arrested as she coached a 10-year-old girls' soccer team.
Waldina Flores was sentenced to 15 years for her crimes. While in prison she sent Book-Lim love letters. That earned her an additional 10 years on her sentence.
Today Book-Lim is an activist for both victims and the attackers. She has fought for the right for victims to have 48-hour access to HIV results of their attackers and protection from being contacted ever again by those attackers.
For the sex offender Book-Lim has worked to get more suitable housing. She does not consider this work though as being an advocate for sex offenders.
"I wouldn't consider myself advocating for them. These people harmed children, and I don't think they can dictate where they get to live."
"Some of them say they are victims and it's not their fault," said Book-Lim, who admits she'll be in therapy for the rest of her life. "But guess what? I was given a life sentence. This person murdered my childhood. I walk through a life that is broken."
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