wickedlocal.com : Quincy moves to ban sex offenders from libraries, parks.
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch is reviewing a proposed ordinance that would ban Level 3 sex offenders from entering libraries and parks and from loitering within 500 feet of them.
The ordinance– which would create “safety zones” around the city’s parks, playgrounds, schools and elderly housing– was passed by the city council. It must be signed by the mayor before it takes effect.
“It’s a great step forward, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more communities follow,” said City Councilor Doug Gutro, who wrote the ordinance with Councilor Kevin Coughlin.
Violations of the ordinance, which would apply only to Level 3 sex offenders – those deemed by the state most likely to re-offend – would carry a $150 fine for a first violation and $300 for each subsequent violation.
The police department would be responsible for enforcing the ordinance and the department of public works would maintain a list of prohibited areas. The proposal includes a provision that would allow sex offenders to enter prohibited areas to vote or attend a religious service.
There are 81 Level 2 sex offenders and 20 Level 3 sex offenders registered in Quincy. Level 2 means the person is likely to reoffend; Level 3 is highly likely to reoffend. (This is a ridiculous generalizing, false statement).
The proposed sex offender ordinance in Quincy would prohibit Level 3 sex offenders from:
- Entering a school, library or day care center unless authorized in writing by an administrator.
- Entering an elderly housing facility unless authorized in writing by a site manager.
- Entering a park or a recreational facility.
- Participating in “a holiday event” involving people 18 or younger unless the parent of one of the children is a sex offender. (Can't invite family members under 18 to join a Christmas party at your own home?)
- Loitering within 500 feet of a school, library, day care center, park, recreational facility, elderly housing and bus stops. “Loiter” is defined as “remaining in or around property and/or buildings” for more than 15 minutes.
A first draft of the ordinance included a provision that would ban sex offenders from living within a certain distance of schools and parks. That was removed after councilors expressed fear the provision would stop offenders from reporting where they live, as they are required to by law. Councilor Joseph Finn said the residency restriction “would have made 99 percent of all housing unavailable” to offenders.
“Study after study indicates that there is no connection between residential proximity and recidivism of sexual crime,” Finn said. “All it really does is make housing an even more difficult dilemma and it creates greater transiency, which in fact increases recidivism.”
Officials in Weymouth passed an ordinance last year that bans Level 3 sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any school, playground, day care or recreational facility.
Quincy officials dropped a provision from the ordinance’s first draft that allowed police to arrest sex offenders for loitering in a safety zone. Assistant City Solicitor Kevin Madden told the council that a city cannot pass a law that gives local police the right of arrest.
“It cannot be an arrestable offense,” Madden said of violations of the ordinance. (In other words, they can only fine a violator).
Readers can contact the Mayor here:
Thomas P. Koch, 1305 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169 , Phone: (617) 376-1990, e-mail: email@example.com
and City Council idiots here:
Douglas S. Gutro, Ward 5, 230 Marlboro Street, Quincy, MA 02170, (617) 376-1355, E-Mail: dgutro@Quincyma.gov
Kevin F. Coughlin, Ward 3, 19 Small Street, Quincy, MA 02171 , (617) 328-7749 , E-Mail: kcoughlin@Quincyma.gov
We will work actively to have you removed from office as a result of your foolish actions on this legislation which unconstitutionally bans groups of citizens from public places. Not only are these laws unconstitutional, but they are politically motivated and ineffective to the legitimate goal of supporting public safety. While you may believe your actions are a political "gold mine", the public now understands this type of political pandering and can see it for what it is: a pathetic and ineffective grandstanding and a dangerous violation of citizens' rights.