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Judge: safety in danger if offender doesn't move

January 1, 2007
A Tippecanoe County judge has denied the request of a convicted sex offender wanting to stay in his Lafayette home as the court considers his lawsuit to no longer be deemed a danger to children.

Superior Judge Don Johnson issued a two-page order this week denying a request by John Doe, a 56-year-old man being ordered to move so that he's not within 1,000 feet of children-saturated areas, such as a school or church.

An Indiana law that took effect July 1, 2006, prohibits convicted child crime offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, youth program center, or public park. Doe complied but decided to take advantage of new legislation that began this July allowing such offenders to petition a court to examine whether he or she still poses a danger to children and should be forced to move.

The court has ordered two independent psychiatrists to evaluate whether Doe should still be considered an offender against children and a danger to society.

"The statute is designed to provide a safeguard for minors by requiring convicted sex offenders not to reside within 1,000 feet of designated areas where children are likely to reside," he wrote. "The public interest will be disserved should the preliminary injunction be granted."

Now, Doe's attorneys have 30 days to file an interlocutory appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals on whether Judge Johnson erred in not granting the preliminary injunction request. Attorneys could also file a permanent injunction petition to challenge to overall law.
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