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Garner Officials Vote Down Ordinance To Ban Sex Offenders From Parks

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Garner Park
GARNER, N.C. — Garner leaders voted Tuesday against a proposed ordinance that would ban registered sex offenders from public parks. The issue contrasts the need to protect children against civil rights.

Town Alderman Phil Matthews said he is aware of a number of sex offenders in the area.

"We know that in the greater Garner area, we have 27. We know who they are and where they live," he said.

The board voted down the measure 3-2, citing problems with enforcement. The American Civil Liberties Union said it is unconstitutional to ban a group based on their status.

"Many of these people have served their time and they have been out of prison for years and years with no further infractions," said Jennifer Rudinger, of the American Civil Liberties Union. "They have successfully rehabiliated into society. Maybe they have families of their own and maybe they want to go to the park with their own children."

For Matthews, he said the battle is not over.

"The ACLU can do what they feel led to do, but I'm in support of the families and the kids, and I think the majority of people's concern is the protection of the kids," he said.

The issue is also being debated in Miami, Fla. Matthews said he got the idea from a town in Buncombe County.

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