Monday, April 14, 2008

3 Strikes .... YOUR OUT!

Convicted sex offender wants permission to attend son's baseball games

April 11, 2008 08:54 PM EDT

VIDEO: Sex offender banned from son's baseball games

By Mark Schnyder
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) -- A southern Indiana man convicted of sexual battery a dozen years ago is seeking special permission from a Jeffersonville judge. Friday afternoon, 34-year-old Eric Dowdell asked the judge to exempt him from a ban that keeps all convicted sex offenders out of the city's little league complex. WAVE 3's Mark Schnyder was there.

Dowdell says he's done his time and met all of his legal requirements. And now he just wants to watch his 10-year old son play baseball.

The judge isn't quite ready to decide if that's going to happen.

Dowdell swears he's no danger to kids. He's committed no sex crimes since he pleaded guilty to sexual battery against a 13-year-old in 1996.

"He's served his time, he's had no probation violations and he just wants to be a father to his kid," said ACLU Attorney Gavin Rose, who is representing Dowdell.

But when it comes to his son's Little League career, every game's a shutout for Dowdell -- because he's shut out.

Dowdell says he want to be his son's MVP by being a part of his life at his games, but Jeffersonville City Attorney Larry Wilder says he's made too many errors to be able to do that.

"This is a case where this individual has committed further crimes -- crimes of family violence, and I believe that the judge will take that into consideration before he allows him back into our parks facilities in the city of Jeffersonville."

Dowdell, who left the courtroom frustrated, admits he's facing domestic battery charges against a girlfriend. He's also got a case pending for not paying child support -- for the same child he wants to support on the ball field.

Rose says his client's other problems with the law shouldn't matter. "If the Jeffersonville City Council decided they wanted to make people convicted of domestic battery prohibited from entering their parks, they certainly could have but they didn't."

The judge said he'll make his ruling in the next couple of weeks, but did tell Dowdell he has concerns about the other charges against him.

Attorney Wilder, who wrote the ordinance keeping Dowdell out of ballparks, says if Dowdell had stayed out of trouble the past 12 years, he'd recommend he be allowed to go to the park. Instead, he's fighting hard against that.

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