The Star’s Brenden O’Shaughnessy reports:
Sex offenders who have committed crimes against children would be banned from public parks and other gathering places under an ordinance that will be introduced in a City-County Council meeting tonight.
The ban would require anyone registered as a sexually violent predator on the Indiana State Sex Offender Registry to stay at least 1,000 feet from a public playground, recreation center, swimming pool, beach or sports facility when children are present. The ordinance adds civil penalty fines of $300, $500 or $2,500 to existing criminal penalties for violations.
Mary Moriarty Adams, a council member, and Melina Kennedy, a candidate for county prosecutor, held a press conference this morning at a Near-Northside playground to announce the proposal. Adams said a constituent had complained about a problem with a registered sex offender living across the street from a Catholic school playground.
Some might view this effort as a little over-kill. Governor Daniels recently signed into law SEA 246, which severely limits registered sex offenders proximity to places like public parks. It prohibits a sexually violent predator from working or volunteering on school property or at a public park or youth program. It further prohibits sex offenders from residing within 1, 000 feet of a school, public park, or youth center, or within a mile of their victim’s home.
While Kennedy may have the best of intentions in her support of the proposal, many in the GLBT community will wonder why she chose such an anti-gay bigot as Adams to team up with on this effort. Adam’s motivation in supporting this proposal is probably different from Kennedy’s.
Her Republican opponent, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, won applause from the GLBT community last year when he enacted a non-discrimination ordinance for his own office prior to the enactment of the HRO. He was condemned by religious right groups, such as Advance America and the American Family Association for protecting gay employees of his office from discrimination.
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union fought a legal battle for a convicted child molester a couple of years ago, who was barred from entering Lafayette’s public parks. The ICLU argued that the ban violated the man’s First Amendment rights. A divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision upheld the city’s ban on a vote of 8-3. The Indiana Law Blog also reports that the ICLU is challenging a similar ordinance enacted by Plainfield.