Local News

Bill would further define limits for sex offenders

Posted May 20, 2009 6:35 p.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2009 6:40 p.m. EDT

— Registered sex offenders could be banned from more places under a bill in the General Assembly that would change the existing rule that keeps them 300 feet from places primarily catering to children.

Under state law, sex offenders cannot be at schools, children's museums, day cares, playgrounds or other locations intended for children.

House Bill 1317 would specify additional places from which registered sex offenders would be banned, such as a movie theater showing a G- or PG-rated film.

The bill would also loosen restrictions on sex offenders who have children. For example, they would be allowed to drop their children off at school.

Chapel Hill police investigator Lee Sparrow said he is watching the bill closely to see what happens. It passed the House earlier this month and was referred to a Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday.

He said he would like to know more about the proposed legislation and more details about how it would work. What still has to be clarified is how far a sex offender can be outside the establishments from which they are banned.

Sparrow arrested two registered sex offenders this month who were within the 300-foot perimeters of a Chapel Hill school and children's museum.

Leigh Sparacino, a Chapel Hill mother, said she will also watch the bill, but she thinks restrictions likely won’t do anything more to protect her daughter.

"Statistically, she has a much greater chance of being injured or molested from someone she knows personally – a family friend or a teacher or a coach, or something like that," Sparacino said.