October 22, 2013

Carbondale amends residency restrictions for sex offenders

10-22-2013 Pennsylvania:

CARBONDALE - City council eased residency restrictions on registered Megan's Law offenders Monday night, months after a former Carbondale resident and registered sex offender called the city's ordinance a civil rights violation.

The original ordinance, introduced in 2007, made it illegal for all registered sex offenders, regardless of severity under Megan's Law, to live within 2,500 feet of "any school, child care facility, open space, community center, public park or recreational facility in the City."

As of Monday night, these restrictions will only apply to individuals classified as "sexually violent predators" by the Pennsylvania State Police Megan's Law Registry.

"If you restrict everyone you violate the statute," city solicitor Frank Ruggiero said. "Now it's consistent with the law. Things change and lives change and we have to adapt."

The council voted unanimously to amend the ordinance.

"We had no choice," council President Kathleen Connor said. "That's the law."

Monday's amendment aligns Carbondale's ordinance with state guidelines for Megan's Law restrictions.

The amendment process began in August after former Carbondale resident, Leo Conway, 79, spoke to the council on behalf of his son, Pat Conway, a Megan's Law offender who had been asked to leave his Carbondale apartment because he was living too close to a playground.

Mr. Ruggiero said Mr. Conway cited "case law" which stated the city could only restrict the residency of sexually violent predators. ..Source.. by SARAH SCINTO

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