Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Aren't they watching their kids?

Of course, they're also ignoring the high number of first-time convictions...

Council sends sex offender ban proposal back to committee

Indianapolis, April 17 - The children were out in force Monday afternoon as the sun returned some mild weather to Garfield Park. The parents were out too, watching the little ones.

We talked to some of them about a proposed ordinance that would place restrictions on convicted sex offenders.

"Protection of the innocence of our kids is number one."

"I think it's great, I think it's a long time coming."

And so do public leaders in Marion County.

Democrat Prosecutor Candidate Melina Kennedy says an ordinance would be timely. "Especially as the weather gets warmer and we'll see our kids out playing in the parks."

The proposed ordinance aims to keep sex offenders 1000 feet from a playground or public pool unless accompanied by another adult. Council Democrat Mary Moriarty Adams is concerned about whether the ordinance will be allowed to stand.

"In order for it to meet constitutional muster, we needed it to allow sex offenders to reintegrate into society with his or her family."

In order to give the ordinance more constitutional muster, child molesters can still go to parks with no playground. It's only parks with playgrounds where they could be in violation. But Ken Faulk of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union as well as some council members, question it's constitutionality.

"We think that after you do your time all people have the right to go into parks, go into public places...You cannot just have a blanket statement that everyone should be banned because of some past criminal history."

It's a controversial topic. One council member, Republican Lincoln Plowman, voted against the ordinance saying it's not tough enough.

"I don't like the provision. What that tells me, he could get another adult who's also a sex offender and hasn't been caught yet and go in there and stalk our children."

Even some parents at Garfield Park agree.

"God only knows what this other adult...Who hangs out with sex offenders? You know what I mean?"

Stiffer penalties could be added to the ordinance in committee. Supporters hope to have an amended version up for a vote next week.


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