December 21, 2014

Elyria
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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.