Sex Offender Advocates Challenge Ohio Residency Rule


An Ohio law banning registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of school property is under challenge in federal court, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Attorneys for the Prison Reform Advocacy Center asked U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Beckwith at a hearing yesterday to declare the law unconstitutional because it too severely limits where sex offenders can live. Counselors who treat sex offenders testified that the law has meant some homeless registered sex offenders are living in unknown places after being kicked out of Cincinnati’s largest shelter. Others – some of whom are mentally retarded – are being evicted from apartments that are close to services.

Public school construction plans mean that some offenders who own homes could be forced to move whenever a school changes locations, lawyer David Singleton argued. “You cannot safely know where you can live,” he said. “People need to be able to know that if they are diligent and find a place outside 1,000 feet of a school, they can bank on it.” State lawyers argue that the law is constitutional because sex offenders can fight in court to stay in their homes. “What this case is about is the protection of children,” Deputy Attorney General Frank Strigari argued. He compared the 1,000-foot rule to people who lose their driver’s license for driving drunk.


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