Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sex Offender Sues Ohio For Right to Go Door To Door

courthousenews.com: Jehovah's Witness Sex Offender Sues Ohio For Right to Go Door To Door.

Lawrence Bullard, a Jehovah's Witness and a sex offender, is suing his parole officer and the Ohio Department of Corrections for his right to go door to door, stating that "the state is forcing him to choose between his faith and his freedom."

Good for him. We hope he wins this lawsuit. More citizens should be suing the state over these laws and restrictions. We should be flooding the courts in every state and costing states millions of dollars in costs and restitution judgments.

Cincinnati - A Jehovah's Witness who was convicted of felony attempted sexual abuse has sued the State of Ohio, claiming it unconstitutionally prohibits him from practicing his religion by proselytizing door-to-door more than once a month.

Lawrence Bullard says he should be allowed to proselytize door-to-door twice a week with other Witnesses, as their religion requires. He says he's an exceedingly low risk to re-offend, and the circumstances prove it.

"On or about Dec. 16, 2001, after another break up, Lawrence went over to [his former fiancée's] house. He was angry at her, upset and confused. He let himself in when she was not home and hid in her closet waiting for her to come home." When she arrived, he says, he "confronted her. And they argued. At some point, he forcibly kissed her and fell to the floor on top of her. He then put his hands down her pants, touching her pubic area."

He says he "immediately realized that he made a serious mistake, in violation of both his faith and the law." He says he called the police from the lobby of his ex's apartment building, and waited there until they arrested him. After pleading guilty to the class E felony, Bullard says he was classified as a low risk, and sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.

In 2008, "because of his trouble-free adjustment to probation, he says, he "was placed on non-reporting status."

Bullard, 37, says he has been married for 4 years. He says his religious practice of going door-to-door twice a week with Witnesses made him well-suited for a job in sales, which he eventually found with a roofing company. But when his parole officer in Ohio found out about his religious practices and his job as a door-to-door salesman, Bullard says, she forbade it. She asked him to sign a document agreeing not to go door to door, but he refused, citing his religion. Ohio then "requested a warrant for his arrest from New York."

He says the request was ultimately withdrawn, and the Ohio Department of Parole allowed him to proselytize once a month. Bullard says his religion requires him to do it twice a week, and that he's no risk because he will be accompanied by other Witnesses. He seeks a restraining order and injunction. He is represented by David Singleton with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center.