New Wave of Laws Across U.S. Is Banning Sex Offenders From Public Places

The New York Times reported that communities across the country are passing a new wave of laws which restrict the public places that sex offenders can access. Sex offenders have been barred from:

  • parks
  • beaches
  • piers
  • harbors
  • libraries
  • schools
  • playgrounds, and
  • public facilities.

Some of these laws are so restrictive that politicians in the communities passing the laws admit that they "felt bad for lower-level offenders whose convictions many years ago prevent them from taking their children to Little League games."

However, the trend is federal, state and local authorities imposing more restrictions and registration requirements, not less. Here in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) passed an ordinance which made it illegal for a registered sex offender to live within 2,500 feet of any public park, recreational facility, community center, school, or child care facility. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the Pittsburgh law because the Court determined that the ordinance actually conflicted with the Pennsylvania sex offender's registration law known as "Meghan's Law." See Fross v. County of Allegheny (Pa. 2010).

Under Pennsylvanian law, there are dozens of crimes which can result in an accused being classified as a registered sex offender. The consequences of a conviction can reach far beyond imprisonment or probation. The registration requirements and restrictions as to where an offender can live, work, and simply be present. This can have a detrimental effect on one's job, education and family. Moreover, these requirements and restrictions are constantly changing and vary from city to city, and state to state. Pennsylvania’s registration requirements will change again in December of 2012.

If you have been charged with, or suspect that you or someone you know are a target of an investigation related to sex offenses, you should immediately contact a lawyer who has experience with the defense of these cases. Mike Parkinson, Tim Tarpey and Jim Lloyd are criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors with more than 40 years of experience. Speaking with an experienced attorney is the only way to understand the law in this evolving area. Call us at (215) 352-3432.