Law violates property rights, sex offender says
By SOPHIA VORAVONG
A man known only as John B. Doe in court documents has until late 2010 before he no longer has to register as a sex offender in Tippecanoe County.
In the meantime, he's been staying with acquaintances. But his wife and three stepchildren still live in their Lafayette home.
"My concern is I could be repeatedly made to move," Doe testified during a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Tippecanoe Superior Court 2. " ... I feel it's a violation of my civil rights. I served my state-approved punishment."
The man was one of 28 convicted sex offenders against children in Tippecanoe County who were forced to move under changes to an Indiana law that prohibits them from living within 1,000 feet of a school, youth program center or public park.
The legislation is being challenged through three lawsuits filed here and a handful more filed throughout Indiana.
At issue for Judge Thomas Busch is whether John B. Doe -- whose home is near a now-vacant Lafayette school and a church that offers day care -- has any property interest to the house his wife purchased 10 years before they married.
The man is named in the mortgage but not the deed. The family remodeled much of the home four years ago, in part as a tribute to a son who was killed in a car crash. They had planned to move out of the state before his death, which the teen was against.
"A central question is if passage of the law violated his property rights," said Busch, who has not ruled. "He put a substantial amount of money into the residence."
John B. Doe pleaded guilty in May 2000 to child seduction, a Class D felony, for having sexual contact with his former stepdaughter, then 16 and of the legal age of consent.
The crime typically may not fall under the new statute, but authorities determined it fit because Doe was in a position of authority.
Busch must also decide whether the law violated the man's rights against retroactive punishment; Doe already completed his sentence and probation for the crime.
Attorneys for the defendants, Tippecanoe County Sheriff Tracy Brown and Prosecutor Pat Harrington, have argued legislators created the law to protect children -- not for additional punishment to offenders.
No one but the crazy lady he is with now trusts this man around kids.
He is just looking for some other teen girl to molest. What is this woman, stupid or blind? Maybe both.
Comment posted to this story:
Posted by: Not Really on Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:50 am
I know the victim and the offender, and that whole situation was a mess! Both of them were in the wrong, and knowing the facts, do I think he would make the same mistake again, NO. Does that mean that I would want to live next to him with my children, no. I never really liked the guy in the first place, but I don't really think that he is a danger to society. Oh, the mother of the 16 is not with him anymore. He has a new family with step-children.
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