In a unanimous vote the Missouri State Supreme Court Judges ruled to overturn a 2006 addendum to the current law that prohibits Missouri Sex Offenders living within 1000 feet of schools and daycares. The Missouriís Supreme Court voted to allow registered sex offenders already residing within 1000 feet of Missouri schools or daycares to stay in their place of residence. Missouriís current law prohibits registered sex offenders in Missouri from moving into a home within 1000 feet of a school and childcare center. This law has been active since 2004. Yet, in 2006 an addendum to the current law went into effect banning a registered sex offender from residing within 1000 feet of a school or daycare, retroactively.
Over the years Missouri has been in the forefront in progressively toughening its laws against child sex offenders. Within the borders of the State of Missouri, over 7,000 sex offenders reside. Initially there were some exceptions to the retroactive law that would now require any sex offender living within 1000 feet of a school or childcare center to move. The exceptions are based on two conditions, one, the sex offender must have resided in the place of residence prior to the enactment of the law, and two, it must have been prior to the school or child care center being built.
This was not the case for approximately seventy of Missouriís sex offenders, who received letters from the Department of Corrections notifying them that they would need to move. This letter was not well received by one Saint Louis registered sex offender living near a private school. He sued the State of Missouri for the right to stay in his home. The offender, known only as R.L. in the Missouri court system, had pled guilty in 2005 to the charge of attempted enticement of a child. R.L. received a sentence of five years probation. He did not think to much more about this issue, until he received the letter from the Department of Corrections asking him to vacate his home due to a new Missouri law.
Although, R.L. had moved into his home in 1997, the private school he lived near was built nine years prior to his arrival in 1988. Therefore, when the 2006 law took place, R.L. was not exempt from the law. This original Missouri State law also mandates a minimum mandatory thirty year prison sentence for Child Predators who rape or sodomize a child under the age of twelve. In addition it has a provision that allows for the possibility of a life sentence for the worst repeat offenders. This law originally passed both the Missouri House and Senate with flying colors.
There appears to be a great deal of confusion over this Missouri Supreme Courts newest Ruling, and rather than confront a sex offender living in your neighborhood it is recommended you contact your local authorities to clarify any questionable situation. That is just what concerned neighbors did in Qulin Missouri this week. A neighbor aware that a convicted sex offender had been living only 200 feet from the local junior high school contacted local authorities. The sex offender sounded surprised he was living only 200 feet from a school. One loop hole to the current Missouri law, prohibiting sex offender living within 1000 feet of a school or child care facility law is that measuring the distance from a school or child care center is up to the resident, not law enforcement.
As stated in the past it is the eyes, ears and concerns of the community that saves children. If you see or hear something that does not feel right call local authorities. The law enforcement officials would rather come out and alleviate any concerns, than find out later a child was hurt or went missing or could have been returned to his or her family, if only someone had called and acted sooner.
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt expressed outrage at the Missouri Supreme Courts decision claiming they were choosing to protect the rights of deviants over Missouriís most precious resource. How do you feel about the courts decision? Please stop by the Missing and Exploited Children Forum and let me know how you feel about this subject.