By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER
A former Carbondale man forced from his home because his son is registered under Megan's Law is suing the city and the mayor, alleging he was targeted for enforcement because he challenged the constitutionality of a city ordinance that limited where sex offenders could live.
_____ of Archbald claims his son, _____, was among 15 Megan's Law offenders living in Carbondale in 2012, but he was the only one singled out by Mayor Justin Taylor (Facebook) for enforcement of the ordinance, which precluded registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, park or other areas where children might gather.
According to the lawsuit, _____ was convicted in 2009 of unlawful communication with a minor, which required him to register as a sex offender. _____ and _____ had lived in Carbondale without incident since 2010. In July 2012, Mr. Taylor contacted the _____' landlord and advised him that _____'s presence violated the city's ordinance and directed him to evict the men.
- So what is the Mayor doing the police' job for?
_____, who served as a magistrate judge in Wyoming County for 25 years before moving to the city, said he advised Mr. Taylor he believed a 2011 state Supreme Court decision in another case proved Carbondale's ordinance was unconstitutional. Mr. Taylor refused to acknowledge the case, saying "his" law took precedence, the suit states.
_____ continued to challenge the ordinance, meeting with Mr. Taylor roughly 12 times. The mayor refused to alter his stance, forcing the men to relocate in September 2012.
Upset he was forced out, _____ attended an Aug. 19 meeting of city council to urge council members to halt enforcement of the sex offender registration ordinance. After he spoke, Mr. Taylor "publicly and recklessly" stated _____ had an extensive criminal record, including burglary, forgery and receiving stolen property. The lawsuit states that information was false. Mr. Taylor later acknowledged the crimes he mentioned were committed by a different _____.
- That is defamation!
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Larry Moran of Scranton, claims Mr. Taylor and the city acted in a "capricious, unreasonable and discriminatory manner" in enforcing the ordinance, which was rescinded sometime after the _____ were forced to move. The lawsuit claims the actions against them were taken in retaliation for speaking out against the ordinance, which is a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech. The suit also seeks damages for violations of the _____' right to due process because they were given no opportunity to challenge the ordinance.
Efforts to reach Mr. Taylor were unsuccessful.