Upper Arlington News

Sex-offender law included in city discussion list

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Although nothing currently is scheduled, city officials recently indicated Upper Arlington City Council might once again review the scope of local sexually oriented offender laws.

The topic was among 34 provided to council members last week by City Manager Ted Staton as possible projects or items to be discussed through October 2014.

It tentatively was slated to come up again next month, but Upper Arlington Mayor and City Council President Don Leach said the subject likely wouldn't be addressed that soon.

"I think (City Attorney Jeanine Amid Hummer) is still doing the research on the issue," Leach said Oct. 10.

Last June, the city's legal staff brought new legislation before council that proposed eliminating Upper Arlington's restriction against convicted sex offenders working within 1,000 feet of any school, preschool, daycare facility, public park or swimming pool, library or playground.

Under that proposal, the city still would have required convicted adult offenders to register with law enforcement, and there still would have been limits on where they could reside.

However, Hummer expressed concerns over recent rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court, which she said have found similar employment restrictions are "punitive" punishments that go beyond the sentences imposed against sex offenders and can be deemed unconstitutional.

Upper Arlington amended its sex offender laws in 2007 to include the employment prohibition.

That restriction covers approximately two-thirds of the city.

After the legislation was introduced in council last June, some members, including Vice President Frank Ciotola, said they opposed scaling back the city's sex offender restrictions and asked Hummer to review the city's options on the matter.

"The city attorney brought forward (an) issue to address some developments in the law that might affect our sex offender law," Leach said. "We asked her to go back and research more thoroughly what other jurisdictions are doing, what options are out there and if there is a need for change."

Hummer on Oct. 9 declined to discuss specifics of any future proposal which might come before council, but said concerns remain about the constitutionality of the local employment prohibition.

"We were asked to review this again and it is on our list of to-dos," she said in an email to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News. "Our recommendation has not changed.

"We are still looking at this issue globally and will report back to council this year or early next year."

As for Staton, he said in an email he included the sex-offender legislation among topics for council because members "said they would revisit it again later in the year after further legal research by the city attorney."

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