Sex Offenders Face Halloween Curfew

SACRAMENTO (AP) — About 2,000 paroled California sex offenders have no permanent home partly because of a state law that bans them from living near schools or parks. This Halloween, however, many will spend the night together under supervision from authorities who want to make sure they have no contact with children out trick-or-treating.

It’s the first time the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is targeting offenders who live on the streets, under bridges or in nomadic campsites, though it has enforced a curfew on offenders who have permanent addresses for nearly 20 years under what it calls “Operation Boo.” The new emphasis comes in response to the growing number of transient offenders, said department spokesman Luis Patino.

Their ranks have spiked in the five years since 70 percent of voters approved Jessica’s Law.

The law bans offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. As one result, the number of homeless paroled sex offenders grew from 88 in August 2007, before the department began enforcing the law, to about 2,000 now that it has been fully implemented.

Three of the state’s four parole regions are setting up the “transient sex-offender roundup centers,” mostly at parole offices or community centers. They include the regions that cover Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and all of California’s coastal counties.

Offenders have been ordered to report to parole centers from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, where they will be supervised to make sure they have no contact with children out trick-or-treating. The law also required the state to use electronic monitors to track all paroled sex offenders, so parole officers will know if offenders aren’t in the curfew centers on Halloween.

California already orders sex offender parolees who have homes to stay inside and turn off their lights, and parolees are barred from putting up Halloween decorations or offering candy.

Patino said corrections officials need to take extra precautions on Halloween to make sure predators don’t entice children into their homes. However, he said there has been no spike in child sexual abuse on Halloween since Operation Boo began nearly two decades ago, in part because molesters tend to shy away from the increased scrutiny.

State Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, who co-authored Jessica’s Law, praised corrections officials for taking the extra steps to monitor offenders without permanent homes.

Many other states have programs enforcing bans on sex offenders participating in Halloween activities. A southeast Alabama county is taking the extra step of rounding up its convicted sex offenders on Halloween night. The Russell County Sheriff’s Department is requiring about 35 sex offenders who are on probation or parole to come to the county courthouse. It is asking the county’s 115 other registered sex offenders to show up voluntarily to get an update on the latest registration requirements.

Missouri sex offenders face up to a year in jail if they violate a 2008 law barring them from going outside, turning on lights or offering candy Oct. 31.

In California, some counties are going further than the state regulations require.

Riverside County this month approved an ordinance barring all registered sex offenders from decorating their homes, leaving on the lights, answering their doors or passing out candy on Halloween. Violations can bring a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Tulare County passed a similar ordinance last year. The ordinances go beyond the parole requirements by applying to all sex offenders, even if they are no longer on parole.

California officials said they are unaware of efforts to pass such a law statewide.

In many urban areas, there are few places that offenders can live and still comply with California’s 5-year-old residency restriction law. Parolees who can’t find legal housing can register as transient, meaning they must live day-to-day in cheap hotels, homeless shelters or on the street. They still are bound by the 2,000-foot rule, so they cannot legally stay under a bridge near where children gather, for instance.

However, the state Corrections Department is responsible for only about 11,000 of the more than 75,000 registered sex offenders who live in California communities. The rest are off parole and so aren’t subject to the department’s rules.

The region that covers the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, including Sacramento, Fresno, Modesto and Redding, is not requiring offenders to come to parole centers because it covers such a sprawling, rural area. The region spans 33 of the state’s 58 counties, from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. Parole agents will fan out Halloween night to locations where homeless sex offenders congregate to make sure they are having no contact with children.

The department’s website,, is also offering a parents’ guide and an oversize coloring book-style “Operation Boo Parent Patrol” badge. Parents can wear the badge “to send a message to predators that they’re being watched,” according to the department.

“Halloween gives us an opportunity to make people aware, because people are already discussing scary things,” said Patino. “The point is it’s not just on Halloween but all the time.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • filip

    good job,,

  • R.S. Andrade

    Paid their debt to society?
    Rehabilitate and Reintegrate back into the whole of society?
    What a sad lie. Punishment for profit is the name of this game This smacks of fascism.
    Wake Up! Tell your children the truth! Educate them early on about themselves and the world at large. Good touch, bad touch, trust their own gut, believe what they tell you.
    2nd thing is, offend once more, and you are gone.
    Take responsobility! Leave it to the authorities and see what you get. A knock at your door for who knows what next!

    • gina

      Once a pedophile. . . . .ALWAYS a pedophile. . ……
      when you let those nuts out of incarceration you set the pedophile loose, not a reformed pedophile…

  • CorporateMediaIsADangerousCult

    And in Tennessee Halloween Travelers face Viper Bites on their Constitutional rights, so when will CIABS Im sorry (CBS 13) cut it with the “whole world is a circus” for us act? The damage they do day by day hour by hour not informing the public, actually if you think about it they’re in OPPOSITION to the PUBLIC INTEREST. Being a Corporation, and being permitted to exist on the PUBLIC’s SPECTRUM. But hey, you scratch the POTUS back, he scratches the FCC back, and you get your Station ID and Frequency allocation.


  • ManOftruth

    Sex offenders don’t change unless they are castrated. Hence having 2000 kiddie touchers anywhere on the streets homeless or not is yet another indictment on the non working judicial system in this country.

  • moderatesense

    Watch out commenters. CBS Sacramento doesn’t like comments that put sex offenders in a negative light. This news station deleted all negative comments concerning the story about the registered sex offender winning a home yard honor in Stockton. Yet all the comments that gave the registered sex offender glowing remarks were kept. CBS seems to be run by a bunch of pedofile, rapist lovers. When I e-mailed them about this, I never received a reply. CBS=Losers

  • JetManJR

    Sex offenders are reprehensible reprobates, yes. BUT, as with any good law, the cops and courts have taken it way too far. Now, what used to be an innocent streak through a park, or sex in a car, or taking a whiz on a tree will get a person taggged with a scarlet letter, “M” for life. The numbers of mollesters is up largely because of this and again, it’s not what the voters wanted, but what the nazi-regime has done with it.

  • Lance

    Sex offender hysteria and hype are generated by legislators and politicians and newspapers trying to make a name for themselves. It is shameful and embarrassing to read all the ignorant hate comments and wide spread ignorance about the sex offender issues. This behavior parallels the thinking of THE FINAL SOLUTION.

    Sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rate among all offender groups. To cause people to live homeless on the streets or in tents is NOT A GOOD LAW.

    Many sex offenders have not offended or had anything to do with a minor. Sex offender laws target this group unfairly. Do we target drug dealers? Do we target drug pushers? Do we target burglars? Do we target drug and alcohol abusers? Do we target violent crime offenders?

    Also, the public should know that the majority of sex offenders are not the homeless or those on the street.The majority of sex offenders that harm children are their family members. Cousins, aunts, uncles, moms, dads, brothers and sisters.

  • hotmover

    Just another waster of taxpayer money, 20 years no increase in crime, nor has than been any statistic revealing there was a problem on this one day. The truth is there has been several programs which has shown only success such as SOTEP. Yet the state dismantles the program. WHY??? There is no money in it for the politicians or law enforcement agencies. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! Quit hiding behind closed doors. This is just another witch hunt only it’s not Salem, MA it’s all of America. This not only applies to the chesters but to all aspects of life. Under the guise of public safety you are losing your freedom and your rights. The cops are shooting at will and everything is justified. Big brother is more than watching you these days they are in every aspect of your life.

    • Lance

      Well, hotmover, You did make some points. It is shameful that so many individuals are impacted and affected so negatively by sex offender laws and other regulations that are so grievously unfair. Where I live in Missouri if you use Facebook or My Space you could be looking at being labeled a re-offender and perhaps spend a year in jail. Who doesn’t use Facebook or Myspace?

  • moderatesense

    Com’mon man, we are not talking about prankster streakers or poor Joe who got caught peeing on the corner of a building. We are talking about rapists and child molesters.

    I get it. Its so expensive to track all these registered sex offenders. So why don’t we just shoot them in the head right after their conviction. No more re-offending and it just might prove to be a powerful deterant. The same for the whole gamut of crimminals.

    • Lance

      Read what you wrote moderatesense. There is nothing moderate about your comments. You condone murder, no courts; simply assasination. Who made you God. It is people like you who will bring down this country. Know your facts because you know absolutely nothing about sex offenders, sex offender law or justice at all. You like so many go against everything our country is supposed to stand for in Liberty and Justice for ALL. You are an embarrasement to the United States of America.

  • moderatesense

    Actually I am moderate and Iike I said, I’m not talking about something as harmless as streaking. I advocate the death penalty for sex offenders. Anyone who does that kind of harm to anyone else in society needs to be removed from the face of the earth. The victims and the public would prefer that.

    • rmcsticks

      bet you a shinny nickel Lance is a sex ofender from calif.

      • Lance

        mcsticks, One bets a shinny new penny not a shinny nickle. Your comment serves what purpose? The point of this is to comment on issues and to express thoughts about a news article. I could make irrational comments about you but what purpose would that serve?

    • Lance

      moderatesense you claim to be a moderate. What is a moderate? I can only presume that if you were a juror on a sex offense trial even if the offender was a moinor you would advocate the death penalty even if the sex offense was consensual sex with another minor of the same age?

  • Lance

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri House of Representatives’ committee heard emotional testimony Tuesday from family members of sex offenders who said Missouri’s sex offender registry is too broadly defined.

    Lawmakers heard from a number of witnesses who said their loved ones, who committed relatively minor or technical sexual offenses in their youth, have been unfairly put into the same category as rapists and predatory child molesters. The committee is in the process of examining state’s laws related to sexual offenses and the use of the sex offender registry.

    A wife told the committee of how her husband is banned from picking up his children from school, attending social functions with children and coaching his children’s sports teams because he is on the sexual offenders’ registry for having consensual sex with an underage girl when he was 19.

    A father told committee members through a family spokesman how his 24-year-old son was arrested for an alleged sexual incident that occurred 12 years before, pleaded guilty and was placed on the sexual offenders list.

    And a mother who said her son committed suicide after years on the offenders list for an incident that occurred when the boy was 14.

    St. Louis attorney Matthew Fry told committee members he has represented more than 100 clients charged with sexual offenses. He told the committee that once offenders are added to the list, they will be permanently branded.

    Those on the list aren’t allowed to live within 500 feet of a school, they aren’t allowed to celebrate occasions like Halloween, won’t be allowed in locations where children are present and more than likely not be able to get a job.

    “Frankly, I don’t know how they go on with their lives,” Fry said. “I don’t know why I haven’t heard of more of my clients…committing suicide. It is that extreme at this time in Missouri.”

    The chairman of the committee, Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, sponsored legislation that passed the House of Representatives during the regular session last year that would have allowed for shorter periods of time on the offenders list depending on the specific nature of crimes committed. It also would have established an appeals process. The law failed to gain traction in the Senate.
    But Highway Patrol Capt. Tim McGrail, the director of the patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services section said lawmakers should not be in a rush to make it easier to remove a name from the sexual offenders list. Calling lawmakers’ attention to previous cases of sex offenders committing nationally notorious crimes, McGrail pointed to the offenders list as a crime fighting tool.

    “So, okay, we take people off the list, what happens? That’s the question,” McGrail said. “What is the general public going to say when somebody who should be on the registry is not on the registry and something happens?”

    The committee will continue taking testimony at the State Capitol Wednesday.

  • voiceofreason

    Did the Rep stop to wonder why there has been a spike in the number of transient offenders? I could tell him. It it because of laws which do not permit registrants to get jobs,rent homes, attend church, or otherwise reintegrate into the community. We are creating an underclass of untouchables.

    In politics, Halloween is when demagogues take their latest fear mongering tactics out for a spin to see if a gullible public will bite, and how hard. As the National Post put it, “A one-night festival of ghoulish subject matter, unhealthy food and talking to strangers, it is no surprise that Halloween is an annual magnet for moral criticism. Halloween is when parental paranoia is ‘market-tested,’

    Which is how we get this annual flurry of sex-offender-related “news” on Halloween. Forget for a moment that there are only two instances that anyone has identified in the history of the nation of kids being sexually assaulted on Halloween, and in neither instance did the offender have a criminal record that would place them on the sex-offender registry. Reality isn’t as important as the opportunity for hyping fear.

    There is no real “news” here. Tracking it closely, one discovers that nearly all local stories on the subject stem from a press release from the local Sheriff, probation department, or some other official, local source, so really it’s law enforcement hyping the issue that drives coverage. Since it’s not actually news but really just self-interested spin, I doubt the media would bother to produce these stories on their own without explicit prodding from officialdom.

    Bottom line: Your kids are in FAR greater risk from traffic accidents, drunk drivers, or even being struck by lightning (not to mention obesity and tooth decay) on Halloween than from sex offenders luring them with sweets. Indeed, in terms of sex crimes against children, Halloween may actually be the safest day of the year. If you’re lecturing your kids on the risks from sex offenders before they go out instead of making sure they can safely see through their Halloween mask and reminding them to watch for traffic, you’re probably diverting their attention – and yours – from the most serious public safety issues surrounding the holiday.

    There is indeed a crime spike on Halloween, but that it’s not sex offenses against children but workaday street crime that routinely increases on that day and should be the main policing focus.

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