February 14, 2012

Hatboro Seeks to Repeal Sex Offender Law

2-14-2012 Pennsylvania:

The borough is one of many Pennsylvania communities looking to take the ordinance off the books.

Not enforcing it isn’t enough, Hatboro borough officials said Monday night.

Having an ordinance in effect that limits where a sex offender could live in Hatboro could open the borough up for the possibility of being sued, officials said.

“By having it on the books you’re inviting legal challenge,” Council President John Zygmont said.

Following the direction of Mayor Norm Hawkes, the governing body is poised to repeal the local law during its Feb. 27 meeting.

"If we were to be sued by someone, our insurance company would not cover us," Hawkes said of the borough's insurance carrier, Delaware Valley Insurance Trust.

Six years ago, Hawkes had proposed drafting the sex offender ordinance. As a way of bolstering Megan’s Law, the ordinance, in effect, prevents registered sex offenders from living near schools, parks and other locales heavily traveled by children.

“Times have changed in Pennsylvania. The Megan’s Law has been tightened up,” Hawkes said. “(Last year) the council decided to keep the ordinance in effect but not enforce it. I am suggesting that we repeal this ordinance.”

Hatboro is one of many communities in Montgomery and Bucks counties to take such action following a May 2011 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which determined a similar sex offender law in Allegheny County violated the state legislature’s intent behind Megan’s Law. ..Source.. by Theresa Katalinas

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