RUTLAND — A judge has shot down an ordinance in Rutland that limited where convicted sex offenders can live in the community.
“The case hinges on the question whether the City of Rutland has the power to declare people nuisances,” Rutland Superior Court Judge Samuel Hoar wrote recently in the strongly worded 13-page ruling. “It does not.”
The ordinance, which the city’s Board of Aldermen adopted in 2008, prohibited any offender convicted of a sex crime against a child from living in the city within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or recreation area.
That restriction precluded child sex offenders from living in much of the city.
“What the City has done here is effectively to declare an entire class of persons to be a public nuisance, by simple virtue of their physical existence,” Hoar wrote. “Plaintiffs have been convicted and punished; the City cannot now say to them, anymore than they could to any other citizen, ‘we don’t want your type in our town.’”
The judge added, “The boldness and breadth of this assertion is virtually without precedent.”
The lawsuit was filed in Rutland Superior Court by the state’s Prisoners’ Rights Office. It was brought on behalf of three convicted sex offenders, identified in documents only as John Does 1, 2 and 3, and includes “parties similarly situated.”