More than a year after Lucas County, Ohio’s sex offenders received notice they’d have to move away from schools, more than 200 remain within the prohibited 1,000-feet school zones, reports the Toledo Blade. City Law Director John Madigan wants to change that. He wants City Council to pass a municipal code making it a first-degree misdemeanor – punishable by up to six months in jail – for a registered sex offender to live within the restricted zones. “What’s on the books now is not a very good solution,” Madigan said. “We’re tired of waiting for the state to fix it.”
As it stands now, Ohio law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, but prosecutors have said enforcing the rule is an impossibly time-consuming process. For one thing, it’s a civil matter, rather than criminal. If an offender refuses to move from a buffer zone, a prosecutor or solicitor must file a civil suit, wait for documents to be delivered to the offender, go to court, possibly endure several delays, and finally ask a judge to order an eviction. Then the case is back where it started – with deputies who must once again track down the offender and once again tell her or him to move.