Sex offender suing City of Wasco: Sex offender ordinance violates Constitutional rights

Man, backed by group, is suing the City

WASCO - An advocacy group is suing the City of Wasco over an ordinance restricting sex offenders.

A sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of Wasco is the subject of the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court on behalf of Frank Lindsay, a registered sex offender. 

This is part of a wider effort by the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group to stop these ordinances.

The Wasco ordinance includes restrictions regarding where more than 105,000 sex offenders can reside or be present. The ordinance prohibits the sex offenders from residing or being present in or within 300 feet of public and private locations including the public library, schools, parks, bus stops, and child care centers.

An individual who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of violation.

The lawsuit says the ordinance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution and is too vague.

“The city’s ordinance is based upon two myths: (1) that registered citizens have a high rate of re-offense and (2) that strangers commit most sexual assaults,” said California Reform Sex Offender Laws President and attorney Janice Bellucci.

"The true rates of re-offense are 1.8 percent for registrants on parole and 5.3 percent for registrants overall, Bellucci said. "More than 90 percent of sexual assaults upon children are committed not by strangers but by family members and others known by the children such as teachers, coaches, and clergy.”

The lawsuit says the restrictions within the Wasco ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeal which invalidated two ordinances, said CA RSOL board member and attorney Chance Oberstein.

Sex offender ordinances in the following six cities and one county have been filed in federal district court: Pomona (March 24), South Lake Tahoe (March 31), National City (April 8), Carson (April 11), Lompoc (April 21), Sacramento County (April 30), and Santa Ana (May 7).

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