MANASSAS, Va. -- Scores of men convicted of child molestation and other sex offenders in Virginia will have to report to their probation offices for three hours Halloween night to keep them away from trick-or-treaters.
"I cannot recall that any of our offenders have offended while they've been on parole on Halloween," said Randi Evans of the Virginia Department of Probation and Parole. "Our goal is to make sure they don't."
About 80 offenders in Prince William County alone have been ordered to go to their probation offices from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Officials could not say how many other communities are participating in the state-run program.
Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU in Virginia, said requiring parolees to attend mass meetings is within the law, but just barely. "There's something slightly unsavory about this," he said.
The state also has a program called Operation Porch Lights Out, in which offenders are told to keep their porch lights off during prime Halloween hours to discourage children from knocking on their doors.
Authorities say that similar initiatives are in place in other states, including New York, Virginia, and California.