Letter to the Editor-State Must Act On Sex Offender Laws

DEAR EDITOR:

Councilman Cook

Councilman Cook

On Tuesday night, my colleagues and I were forced to remove important legislation from town code which for nearly 10 years controlled where registered sex offenders can live in this town.

Previously, Huntington’s Child Protection Act, enacted in 2005, prohibited level two and three sex offenders from living within a quarter-mile of a school, daycare center, camp, park, beach or playground. However, a court ruling in February 2015 determined that only the state could set residence rules on sex offenders. As a result, we had no choice but to strike these restrictions from town code, leaving inadequate state restrictions as our only protection.

Already, this is causing big problems in our communities. Last month, residents of Elwood came to Town Hall to warn us that sex offenders had recently – and legally – moved into a rental property near a local school. That situation – and the inability to do anything about it – is unacceptable to me.

As a father of five, I know how important it is to protect all of our children from predators. That is why state lawmakers must act by the end of this session to implement tough new laws that keep our families safe – or empower local governments like Huntington to set our own rules.

 

EUGENE COOK

Huntington Town Councilman

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