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City Council Votes Tonight to Adopt Child Sex Offender Law

Local ordinance, in absence of state law, creates child safety zones in the city at areas where children congregate and therefore where convicted Level 2 and 3 child sex offenders cannot go.

The child sex offender law proposed by Mayor Ted Bettencourt is back before the City Council Thursday night for adoption.

Given councilors' pledges of support two months ago, the vote should be entirely with Bettencourt again.

The local ordinance seeks to create "child safety zones" and specifically target convicted Level 2 and Level 3 child sex offenders in terms of barring them from such designated areas, which would encompass city schools, libraries, parks and other recreational areas.

The Police Department would have discretion to determine if an actual offense occurred, and repeat violators of the ordinance or those who refused to comply with police orders could face fines and/or criminal charges.

Bettencourt's proposal is modeled after a local law in New Bedford that's been in place since 2008 and isn't currently facing a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union unlike the situation in Lynn.

Bettencourt said he purposefully steered clear of trying to dictate where child sex offenders could live in Peabody or specific proximity to child safety zones, which is what Lynn is being challenged on now.

If those provisions were deemed constitutional by a judge, Bettencourt said, he would seek to add them as well.

He told councilors that if an appeal of Peabody's ordinance is taken and a judge rules against the constitutionality of certain measures, the city will just have to tweak the law to comply.

Bob Croce December 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
This should be a no-brainer for the City Council to approve. Will the ACLU come in and challenge? Probably. But once again, file this under the category of some things are worth standing our ground on. The fact is that sex offenders, especially Level 3 sex offenders, CANNOT be rehabilitated. And while they certainly have their rights once doing their time in prison, it's insane to let people with this specific sickness around kids. Here are some other reasons why I feel the Peabody City Council should vote 11-0 tonight to pass this: http://bit.ly/STTxTu
Jeff F December 13, 2012 at 09:29 PM
This really hasn't happened yet? We have been reading about this for months....what's the holdup? I agree with Bob...this is a no brainer.
ltm December 15, 2012 at 08:44 AM
No brainier? It seems to me that is how much thought is being placed into this local legislation. You can put all levels of sex offenders in another world and you will discover that you have not made your children any safer. I do agree that level 3 sex offenders need close supervision. However, level 1 and 2 should be off this legislation, especially if they are Prior Offenders (PO's) who have served their court appointed punishment and now live within the law going about their personal life's business as most citizens manage to do, although SORNA places many more restrictions on these individuals and families than meets the eye. All this type of legislation is in violation of Human Rights and in most cases unconstitutional. Frankly, I think drugs do more damage to children and families than registered sex offenders.

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