October 21, 2014

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Amherst Councilman’s proposed sex offender trick-or-treat ban tabled

AMHERST — A potential piece of legislation that would keep sex offenders from participating in Amherst’s trick-or-treat most likely will not go into effect in time for Thursday’s Halloween.

In a committee meeting Monday, Amherst City Council members moved to table the discussion of the legislation until Amherst Law Director Tony Pecora is able to look into the legal issues surrounding the proposed ordinance.

Phil Van Treuren

Phil Van Treuren

On Oct. 18, Councilman Phil Van Treuren, R-at large, announced that he planned to propose an ordinance that would ban registered sex offenders from participating in trick-or-treat in Amherst. Van Treuren said the ban would not only apply to the 11 registered sex offenders in Amherst, but also to any registered sex offenders who visit Amherst during Halloween. Monday’s committee meeting was the first time Van Treuren proposed the ordinance.

However, Van Treuren’s proposal was met with apprehension from Council and Pecora, who said that the ordinance might conflict with Ohio laws.

“I do have concerns about (constitutional issues),” Pecora said, adding that he would like time for research to see if the ordinance would conflict with any standing laws about the rights of registered sex offenders.

Van Treuren said that after deliberation, he preferred to hold the ordinance until Pecora was sure that it would not conflict with existing laws.

All seven Council members voted to table the proposed ordinance Monday.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • stillsleepyeyes

    in time for the election but not the holiday…….hmmmm

  • TheOriginalFactChecker

    How is this news? Clear thinkers on council knew this proposal would do nothing to prevent any problems.

  • yellowroselady

    The need to protect children from registrants at Halloween is an unfounded myth or in other words there is “no empirical evidence” indicating a need for laws or ordinances of this type. Your children have a greater probability of being hit by a vehicle in their excitement and in some cases caused by a costume that restricts their vision.
    Now for the real truth..Ariel Castro (Ohio), Jerry Sandusky (PA) and many others we hear and read about were NOT on any public registry and that is EXACTLY THE POINT. The public has been groomed to believe all they have to do is check a registry and be aware of “those on it” and their family will be safe. The truth of the matter is that according to credible studies the recidivism rate for another “sexual” offense is 5.3% and those who are beginning to educate families are advising the other 95% of sexual offenses come from within their environment (family, friends and those having access to the children) and NEVER get reported.

    According to the NCMEC, there are over 751,538 men, women and children (as young as 6 and 8 in some states) required to register and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student,
    viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone18 years old or younger, playing doctor, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 2,500,000 wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being harassed, threatened, beaten, have signs placed
    in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their
    churches and other organizations, have flyers distributed around their
    neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a
    registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family
    together and provide the tree things that professionals state are needed for
    successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system.

    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com

    • jz

      I agree. Unfortunately too many times the fear card, the for your safety card, etc. get played and citizens too lazy to think thru an issue like this, which you obviously have done, are what opportunistic politicians just love to exploit.

  • Rosa Garcia-Gee

    If this council person truly believed this might be a good idea…… Please tell me why he waited until Oct. 18th ? Any experienced Council person would realize that to have legislation ready and past in time for Halloween. it would have needed to be brought up at an August meeting at the latest.