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Police send letters to sex offenders

6-7-2008 Nebraska:

There are three types of vigilantism, this is vigilantism by lawmakers! In addition, they corrupt the meaning of due process.

One Fremont man will be forced to move if a proposed new ordinance restricting how close to schools and licensed child care facilities certain sex offenders can live is passed.

Another three live within the 500-foot limit, but moved in before the July 1, 2006, cutoff date and will be allowed to remain in their homes.

Letters from the Fremont Police Department were mailed Thursday to all 11 Level 3 sex offenders living within the city informing them of the proposed ordinance and the effect it might have on them.

Level 3 sex offenders are those determined to be at a high risk to re-offend. They must register any new address within five business days of the move with the sheriff.

Lt. Jeff Elliott said 10 of the 11 Level 3 sex offenders residing in the city would be considered sexual predators by the ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits sex offenders deemed to be sexual predators from living within 500 feet of schools or child care facilities. A sexual predator is defined by the ordinance as “an individual who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act, who has been classified as Level 3 because of a high risk of recidivism as determined by the Nebraska State Patrol and who has victimized a person 18 years of age or younger.”

The 500-foot measurement starts at the outer property line of the residence to the outer property line of the school or child care facility.

“We want these individuals to be aware this ordinance may become law,” Elliott said. “We want to give them an opportunity to comply if it passes. Technically, once the law passes, they are in violation.”

He said contacting and making an offender in violation move will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The crime is an arrestable misdemeanor offense and carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail if convicted.

Currently, there are 61 licensed child care centers in Fremont plus all of the public and private schools in town.

There must be three readings at city council meetings before council members would vote on it. There has been one reading so far and the next reading will take place at the June 10 regular Fremont City Council meeting. The final reading and a council vote on the ordinance is planned for June 24.

If passed, the ordinance would be retroactive to July 1, 2006. The only exceptions would be if the sex offender was in a correctional or treatment facility run by the state or political subdivision or child care facility was established after the sex offender moved into the neighborhood.

“We are hoping anyone presently in an area of violation will comply prior to any actions being taken,” Elliott said. “We’re using several methods, including government agencies, to determine the distance.”

If any of the three sexual predators who are currently grandfathered in to their current residences were to move within city limits, they, too, would have to abide by the ordinance if passed. So would any new sexual predators who might move into the city limits.

“We suggest contacting our office prior to selecting a new residence so we can assist in determining if the new residence is in violation,” Elliott said. ..News Source.. by Russ Krebs, Fremont Tribune

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