October 22, 2013

Some fear ban on sex offenders has unintended consequences

10-22-2013 Texas:

Ordinance would prohibit registered offenders from entering, living near parks

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio dad fears a ban on sex offenders in city parks would keep him from taking his two children to the park.

The man was arrested for sexually assaulting his 16-year-old girlfriend. Although he was 17 when he was arrested, the man was tried and convicted as an adult two years later, and is now a registered sex offender.

He’s now in his 40s, married, and has two children. “I'm not a threat to any children,” he said. “I want to be able to be a regular person. I served my time.” The man’s wife said the city’s potential ban on sex offenders entering into or living near city parks has unintended consequences.

“I think my children deserve a chance at a normal future, just like other families out there,” she said. “Just because of a mistake my husband made when he was 17? He's done his probation, served his time, paid his dues. I think we should be able to move on.”

Mary Sue Molnar, the executive director of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, said there is little evidence to suggest that the city needs such an ordinance.

“We've had conversations with several city council members and expressed our interest in looking at the research. We're hoping that they look at the research,” she said. “We've not found any (evidence) that supports the fact, or the idea, or theory, that residency restrictions or child-safe zones keep the public safer.”

City officials said the ordinance would likely have some exemptions, but have yet to comment on a case like this. The ordinance is scheduled to go before the city council’s public safety committee, before the full council will get a chance to weigh in. ..Source.. by Cory Smith, Reporter

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