Fayette County

More places could become off-limits to sex offenders

A bill filed in the state legislature would further restrict areas where registered sex offenders can live.

Under House Bill 38, filed by Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, sex offenders who have committed crimes against minors would not be able to live within 1,000 feet of public or private parks or community swimming pools.

The bill also would prohibit them from participating in Halloween activities involving minors, such as trick-or-treating.

Lee said swimming pools originally were included in the 2006 legislation that tightened the rules on where Kentucky sex offenders can live, but that provision was deleted before the bill was passed.

Now, Lee said, he wants to get it added into the law.

"Some of the individuals who are opposed to that are no longer in the General Assembly," he said in an interview. "I've been approached by citizens ... who have wanted to know basically why we left a loophole in the law."

The state Department of Corrections has filed an impact statement saying that the bill could be expensive and difficult to enforce.

Swimming pools in the back yards of single-family homes would not be covered under the bill, but the impact statement states that pools at apartment complexes or hotels and motels would be.

"This provision is too restrictive and would further reduce available options and increase staff time to help offenders find housing," the Department of Corrections statement says.

But Lee said restricting where sex offenders can live is important, because the recidivism rate is high.

"You can lock them up, but you're not going to cure them," he said. "The next-best alternative is to know where they are.

"Everything we can do to protect our children is well worth it."

The measure has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

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