The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 17, 2013

Sex offender Halloween ordinance passes in Orwell

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ORWELL — Village council members passed an ordinance, Tuesday night, that will prohibit registered sex offenders from celebrating Halloween.

Village Manager Jack Nettis said council’s decision was unanimous. The ordinance will go into effect immediately, just in time for this year’s holiday.

 Nettis said council took its time passing the ordinance to consider any possible ramifications. The measure was tabled last month as council members had some questions that could not be immediately answered.

Nettis said it also gave the public an opportunity to voice any opinions or concerns; however, the village did not receive any public feedback.

“No one made any comments,” he said.

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

The ordinance requires 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 are required to leave all exterior residential, decorative and ornamental lighting off during the evening hours, beginning at 4 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 will be charged with a misdemeanor, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance was a suggestion by Village Police Chief Chad Fernandez, Nettis said.