Sex Offenders Can Stay

1 decade 2 years 2 weeks ago Thursday, May 31 2007 May 31, 2007 Thursday, May 31, 2007 5:50:58 PM CDT May 31, 2007 in News

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce overturned part of a law keeping sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools and day care centers. The ruling is linked to last year's Missouri Supreme Court ruling the sex offender registry can't be applied retroactively.

"If it wasn't already required at the time you plead guilty to sex offense, then they're not going to add that to you because it wasn't a condition of your plea," Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Niki Gorovsky said.

But it was unclear whether this 2006 law could be applied retroactively. In March, the Missouri parole board told an unidentified sex offender to move out of his home which is near a school. But he sued to stay in the home where he's lived since 1997.

The Boone County assistant prosecutor says her office obviously supports the law, but the ruling didn't surprise her.

"We were pretty aware that because of that Supreme Court opinion last year that they were not going to allow that to apply retroactively either," Gorovsky said.

Jay Wood, director of the child advocacy group Missouri Kids First, said he's glad the court is clearing up confusion, but says the law still protects kids.

"Missouri's been pretty proactive in passing legislation to protect children from sex offenders and this piece of legislation was effective in doing that," Wood said. 

Specifically, sex offenders who lived near schools and day care centers before the law took effect don't have to move.

The attorney general's office says they will appeal the ruling.

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