Voters decided Tuesday at a town meeting to repeal an 11-year-old ordinance banning people on the sex-offender registry from many public places in town.
The 50-13 vote came after more than an hour of discussion about the “child safety zone” ordinance, which is being challenged in a lawsuit by an anonymous resident and One Standard of Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group for the rights of accused and convicted sex offenders.
The federal lawsuit argues that the ordinance — which bars registered sex offenders from places such as local parks, public schools, the library, the Town Hall gymnasium, and the Senior Center — violates First and 14th Amendment rights. The plaintiff is asking for $10,000 in lawyers’ fees and for the town to repeal the ordinance.
Town Attorney Carl Landolina said Tuesday that the suit was filed by a man who was convicted of sexually assaulting another adult in the 1990s, when they were both in their 20s. He is arguing that the ordinance is too broad, preventing him, now a father, from accompanying his children to schools and parks, although he was not convicted of an offense against a child.
Katherine Rule of Hartford law firm Howd and Ludorf, which has experience representing municipalities in civil rights cases, would represent town in the suit, Landolina said.
Landolina implied that he believes the town likely would lose if the case went to trial.