The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 21, 2013

Orwell council tables proposed sex offender legislation

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ORWELL — Village council members tabled a proposed measure, Thursday, that would restrict registered sex offenders from celebrating Halloween.

The measure was on the agenda to be voted on for passage; however, council members had a few more questions for Village Police Chief Chad Fernandez before passing it, said Village Manager Jack Nettis.

“(Council) was not able to speak directly to the police chief because he did not attend the meeting,” he said. “The ordinance was tabled until next month.”

Nettis said the measure will be on October’s agenda and will still give officials plenty of time to enact it for this year’s holiday, should it pass.

“They have the ability to make it go into effect for this year,” he said.

The proposed ordinance would establish a number of restrictions for registered sex offenders on Halloween.

According to the ordinance, the purpose of the legislation is to “protect children from the dangers posed by sex offenders convicted of offenses against minors.

The ordinance would require any sex offenders to abide by certain restrictions between the hours of midnight and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31 and/or any other night that might be designated as Halloween by the village.

Sex offenders would be required to leave all exterior residential, decorative and ornamental lighting off during the evening hours, beginning at 5 p.m. until midnight; refrain from decorating his or her front yard and exterior of the residence with Halloween decorations; and refrain from answering the door to children who are trick-or-treating, according to the ordinance.

If the ordinance is violated, the person would be charged with a misdemeanor, according to the ordinance.

Council’s next meeting will be Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.