The Boy Who Loved Me

A child molester and his ex-lover try an ill-fated escape. Did a controversial law drive them to it?

The gated, genteel Cobblestone Country Club, 35 miles northwest of West Palm Beach, Fla., received some unusual visitors last Tuesday. Steven Whitsett, 28, of Pembroke Pines, and Clifford Burkhart, 23, of Hollywood, Fla., were drenched and dirty, having crawled out of the waters of a canal at the club's north end. For 26 hours, the duo had slogged through mosquito-infested swamps inhabited by wild boar, alligators and rattlers. Now they were facing arrest after a dramatically botched helicopter escape from a nearby "treatment center," where Whitsett, a convicted child molester, had been detained under a controversial Florida law. Burkhart was his...

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