Ex-offender wants to help others not re-offend

News4Jax's Jim Piggott talks with Donald Bell
News4Jax's Jim Piggott talks with Donald Bell

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Donald Bell admits to being a sex offender, having molested a 16-year-old in 1988 when he was 30. He knows what he did was wrong and now devotes his life to helping others who have made the same mistakes.

"I don't think it was fair to her to do what I did," Bell said. "I think about my crime and what I did to her all the time. It never leaves my mind."

Eventually he married her and had a daughter. He is no longer married.

Bell said his offense is why he feels compelled to work in an area to help other offenders find housing, adding it will help keep others from being hurt.

He said things are very different now than when he was in prison

"When I was convicted it was harder to be in than it was to be out because sex offenders and prisoners do not mix. I was fighting every day," Bell said.

When he first got out of prison, he was homeless, with only the clothes from prison and not much to live on. Bell said that is why he is adamant now about helping others find housing .

"I do this job for my heart," Bell said. "I know what these men have gone though, what they have gone though in prison, what they have gone though on the outside and what they are getting ready to go through."

Bell said everybody deserves a second chance.

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