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Peabody City Council expected to vote on sex offender restrictions tonight

Posted by Ryan Mooney  December 13, 2012 02:16 PM

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The Peabody City Council is expected to vote tonight on an ordinance amendment that would prohibit sex offenders from setting foot in certain areas of the city.

The amendment, which needs six votes to gain approval, would bar level 2 and 3 sex offenders whose victims were under 16 years old from going anywhere within a "child safety zone."

The amendment as currently written defines a child safety zone as any park, playground, recreation center, library, school, daycare center, private youth center, video arcade, bathing beach, swimming pool or wading pool gymnasium, sports field, or sports facility, "including the parking area and land adjacent to any of the aforementioned facilities, and school or camp bus stops."

There is no mention of how far "land adjacent" to a child safety zone extends.

The amendment would not pertain to anyone whose name has been removed from the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry, or from the registry of another state, federal, or military system, by order of a court.

Offenders will not be prohibited from churches or any other houses of worship that fall into a designated child safety zone, as long as they only enter during hours of worship, or during programs or services posted to the public. They will not be allowed to participate in any religious education programs that include individuals under the age of 18.

If passed, violations of the ordinance will result in fines ranging from $150 to $300 and/or arrest without warrant.

The City Council will meet tonight at 7:30 in the Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall. The written amendment expected to be voted on can be viewed at the city clerk's office.

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