Sunday, September 19, 2010

CT - Sex-offender ordinance to go before town legislature Monday

Original Article

09/18/2010

By Colin Gustafson

Scuttled twice before by the Representative Town Meeting because of concerns over its constitutionality, a proposed ban of registered sex offenders at schools, parks and playgrounds could go "down in flames" when it goes before the town's citizen legislature again on Monday, an RTM leader said.

A discussion and final vote on the controversial sex-offender ordinance is expected when the full RTM meets at 8 p.m. at Central Middle School. The meeting comes a week after the body's rules-making committee overwhelmingly rejected the ordinance, despite assurances from the town attorney that a revised version of the ban would be legally defensible.
- As usual, they have the meeting at a school, the one place sex offenders cannot go, to voice their opinion!

"The people who I've heard from in the town meeting are very apprehensive about it," Joan Caldwell, the RTM's second in command, said of the legislation.

When the full citizen legislature meets Monday, it "is going to be an emotionally charged discussion," she added. "When you start talking about kids, you are going right to the nerve. I'm afraid it could get a little nasty."

The drafters of the child safety ordinance have worked a number of new exemptions into the ban that would allow registered sex offenders to visit a school to pick their child up, participate in parent-teacher conferences and attend public forums, including RTM meetings. Another exemption would allow offenders to visit a school if required to do so by an employer for work like construction or repairs to the building.

"That kind of exemption makes it more defensible," Town Attorney John Wayne Fox said in an interview Friday. In giving the ordinance his legal nod, Fox stressed that he is not weighing in on its merits, just stating his belief that it would be legally defensible.

His assurance apparently was not enough to convince a majority of the RTM's Legislative and Rules Committee, which voted against the ordinance, both on its legal order and its merits, during a meeting last Monday.

"There is a substantial risk of having to defend against a civil rights suit, at considerable expense to the town, all because of an ordinance, that in our opinion, provides no meaningful protection for our children," committee Chairman Douglas Wells wrote in a prepared statement Friday.

Wells cited a June 4 letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut that raises doubts about the constitutionality of the ban and suggests that it would be difficult to enforce.

"We ... believe the proposed ordinance not only violates state and federal law, but also is poor public policy," ACLU of Connecticut Executive Director Andrew Schneider wrote in the letter to Wells.

A message seeking comment was left at Schneider's Hartford office Friday afternoon.

Sam Romeo, a chief proponent of the ordinance and chairman of the Community and Police Partnership Committee for the eastern end of town, called the rules committee's vote against the ordinance last week a "veiled attempt to torpedo" the legislation when it goes before the RTM Monday.

"They are all worried about the ACLU, and its veiled threat to sue," Romeo said Friday. "They're hoping the RTM just takes their recommendation and nobody has to be held accountable."

Under the five-page ordinance, police would be authorized to request identification from suspected sex offenders who are present in child-safety zones -- areas encompassing schools, parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities marked by signs. If someone is listed on a sex offender registry, he or she would be issued a warning, requiring the individual to leave the premises. Those who refuse would be fined $100 for each violation of the ordinance. The ordinance would not apply to public streets, highways or sidewalks beyond the boundaries of a child-safety zone.

The RTM sent the first proposal back to town lawyers last June amid questions about its defensibility and potential legal challenges from civil liberties groups.

A second draft of the proposal was tabled last September for similar reasons.

The rules-making committee of the RTM missed the deadline for submitting the proposal to the town clerk to have it considered in June, maddening supporters of the child-safety measure.

After so many postponements, RTM Moderator Thomas Byrne on Friday said he's hoping for a final up-or-down vote Monday.

At least six other municipalities in Connecticut have similar bans, according to the state Office of Legislative Research.

Four convicted sex offenders reside in town, according to police, who have noted that there are 150 more living within a 10-mile radius of Greenwich.

Registered sex offenders are required to meet with police for a face-to-face interview when they first move to town. They must also reverify their address with the state every 90 days.



Do to all the recent hysteria, Pedobear has decided to lay low for awhile!

Click the image to read more



OK - Man arrested for urinating on a church, could become the next sex offender

Original Article

09/18/2010

By Russell Carter

OKLAHOMA CITY - A metro man is facing serious charges after police claim he relieved himself on a church window in Downtown Oklahoma City. Along with urinating on the window police say 50-year-old [name withheld] continued to expose himself after being approached by an associate pastor who was worried about students in a nearby Sunday school class.

"Obviously we don't want anybody exposed to this type of action or incident and it was a good call by the pastor to contact us," said Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

If [name withheld] is found guilty of indecent exposure he will have to register as a sex offender.