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RI: Crossroads will continue to shelter homeless sex offenders as lawsuit plays out


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Crossroads Rhode Island will continue to take in sex offenders at a homeless shelter in Cranston under an agreement between the parties to a lawsuit challenging a new state law that limits the number of convicted sex offenders who can be housed in homeless shelters.

The parties met in chambers Wednesday afternoon with U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith.

According to Lynette Labinger, a lawyer for the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit, Judge Smith recognized that there are significant legal and factual issues that the state has not yet had a chance to address. The parties agreed that while they are developing the legal issues, no one would be turned away as a result of the new law that allows only 10 percent of shelter beds to go to sex offenders, she said.

Crossroads has not been turning anyone away since the law took effect Jan. 1, she said.

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  1. Dustin

    I’m trying very hard not to be too cynical, and admit I’m not succeeding. Would Judge Smith have “recognized that there are significant legal and factual issues that the state has not yet had a chance to address” if the ACLU wasn’t breathing down his neck? Presuming not. My own court experiences have shown me judges typically rubber stamp whatever the government attorney sticks under their noses and rarely, if ever bother to read any of it beyond the title and his own signature block.

    Still, I am glad to see this story. My opinion that it is rather audacious of Rhode Island to legislate its RCs into homelessness then deny them homeless services.

  2. Eric

    They should only take in homeless people with impeccable past histories of achievement and flawless character.

    • R M

      Eric, I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not but if what you said were the case, no one would meet your criteria as EVERYONE HAS SINNED, you included.

      • TS

        @R M

        @Eric was being sarcastic. If they had and were what he wrote, then most likely (not 100%) they would not be homeless in the first place.

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