July 31, 2014

Sex offenders and Halloween is frightful

One state lawmaker says a lawsuit filed in California allowing sex offenders to participate in Halloween is chilling.

The lawsuit argues that local ordinances in the Golden State are denying the right of the sex offenders’ free speech and right to celebrate the holiday.

Abbotsford Republican Scott Suder has a preemptive warning for sex offenders in Wisconsin. “Any petition is dead on arrival; it’s not gonna happen in the state of Wisconsin. Sex offenders are not going to be able to participate in Halloween trick-or-treating any time, any where in the state of Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) restricts sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities. That means no trick-or-treating, displaying decorations, handing out candy or dressing up in costumes.

Some argue violators have paid their debt to society. Suder says protecting kids takes priority. “We should have zero tolerance for sex offenders when it comes to them going out and trick-or-treating, or people going to their house. The fact is, it’s too dangerous.”

There’s the argument that the law is being enforced on the violator’s family, preventing the kids in that household from participating in the holiday. Suder says maybe the offenders should apologize to their families. He says it’s a “crazy notion” to allow sex offenders to participate in a holiday involving children going door-to-door collecting candy.

The Assembly Majority Leader is the author of both Jessica’s Law — requiring strict minimum prison sentences of 25 years to life for first time child sex offenders, and Project KidSafe — requiring active GPS monitoring of sex offenders. Suder says he will continue to work on strengthening laws to make Wisconsin “an absolute nightmare” for any sex offenders and would-be offenders.

The lawsuit was filed by the California for Reform Sex Offender Laws on behalf of five unnamed sex offenders.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:35