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Sex offender restriction passed

Published (5/20/2011)
By Hank Long
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A bill that would aid the courts in protecting sex crime victims from their juvenile offenders was passed by the House May 16.

Rep. Keith Downey (R-Edina) sponsors HF229, which would authorize a judge to bar a juvenile found guilty of a sex crime from residing within 1,000 feet, or three city blocks, of the victim. The bill states that the offender would have to be over age 15 and that the residency restriction could be ordered for all or part of the time that the offender is under court jurisdiction.

The bill was brought to Downey following a case where a juvenile offender received treatment and was released to his family after having molested a young girl. The victim’s family asked for a residency restriction order, but was told by the judge that nothing could be done to prevent the offender from living next door upon his completion of the treatment.

It would insert permissive language to ensure the court system fully understands that a judge has the option to issue such restraining orders in cases similar to the one Downey described.

Passed 132-1, it awaits action by the full Senate. Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina) is the Senate sponsor.

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