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Saturday, December 2, 2006

Against the Marlborough sex offender ban

MARLBOROUGH

The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester weighed in today on the proposed sex offender ban in Marlborough. Here's an excerpt:

Marlborough Mayor Nancy E. Stevens acted properly in vetoing an ordinance billed as a measure to protect children from sexual predators. In fact, the ban on registered offenders in virtually all of the city, constitutionally dubious at best, would provide little more than a false sense of security.

... While the ordinance is well-intended, it offers only an illusion of safety. The vast majority of sexual assaults on youngsters are not by shadowy strangers but by relatives or others well-known to the child. A sexual predator intent on assaulting a child is not likely to be deterred by a buffer zone.

No child protection measure is fail-safe, but initiatives on the state level — to improve the sex-offender registry, for example, and specify longer sentences for individuals deemed likely to re-offend — are apt to be more effective than dubious buffer zones.

The City Council should uphold Mayor Stevens’ veto.

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