July 10, 2014

RI Gov Chafee signs law restricting employment of sex offenders

7-10-2014 Rhode Island:

Carnivals, arcades, movie theaters, public libraries, beaches and pools are among the facilities banned from hiring registered sex offenders as employees under a new law signed by Governor Chafee on Wednesday.

The bill groups those facilities and a number of others into a category called “child-safe zones.” Any entity falling into that category cannot hire any individual who is a registered sex offender or should have registered as a sex offender. The law applies to offenders from any state whose victims were minors.

Chafee signed the legislation, but urged the General Assembly to consider future revisions to the law he described as vague and overly broad.

He said the law’s effectiveness may be jeopardized as it includes a number of facilities, such as movie theaters, pools and beaches, which are not primarily used by minors.

“The act also appears to prohibit employers or third-party contractors from hiring registrants who work off-site and are never physically present at the child safe zone,” Chafee said. “These prohibitions do not advance the child safety goals of the act and only impede the important goals of offender re-entry and rehabilitation.”

The legislation also defines child-safe zones as child care facilities, elementary and secondary schools, playgrounds, health-care facilities for minors, and any place intended primarily for use by minors.

Individuals who make the final hiring decisions for any entity wrongly employing a sex offender will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 a day for each day the offender is employed.

Misrepresenting sex-offender status to gain employment is a felony offense punishable by five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, according to the law. ..Source.. by Jennifer Bogdan

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