Ohio RSOL, NARSOL advocate challenges sex offender residency restrictions expansion

By Beth Mlady . . . Advocate Barbara Wright opposes Brook Park City Council’s intention to further limit where registered offenders can live. The Brook Park ordinance under consideration adds parks to vicinity restrictions and also prohibits two sex offenders from living together in the same residential dwelling.

A member of advocacy groups Ohio Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) and the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL), Wright sent a lengthy Sept. 24 e-mail to cleveland.com and Brook Park Law Director Carol Dillon Horvath.

“I am writing to challenge those restrictions as a violation of Brook Park’s home rule authority,” Wright wrote. “Brook Park is proposing restrictions which exceed Ohio law prohibiting residents from living within 1,000 feet of any school, preschool or daycare center. Ohio RSOL is in the process of identifying plaintiffs to challenge similar restrictions in Cuyahoga County.”

When contacted by cleveland.com, Wright would not provide further comment.

She maintains in her e-mail, however, that the U.S. Department of Justice reports “residency restrictions do not protect society,” and she asserted “non-registered residents of Brook Park are nine times more likely to commit sex crimes than registered residents.”

“The Brook Park ordinance will do absolutely nothing to prevent the majority of sex crimes from occurring, and may even lead residents to a false sense of security, thereby allowing them to ‘let their guard down,'” Wright indicated. “Vigilance starts at home, not in public parks and playgrounds.”

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