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Kern County has been sued by an anonymous registered sex offender, who says the county’s restrictive housing laws for sex offenders have violated his civil rights.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe in court filings, says in the lawsuit that he is not able to find reasonable housing due to an ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2008 that prevents registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a daycare center.

“The Kern County Residency Restrictions accomplish the unconstitutional goal of banishment, do not serve legitimate government purpose, and are not appropriately tailored or related to any lawful purpose,” the suit says.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff cannot reside with a family member in the only housing that is reasonably available to him due to the law. It also states that many affordable multifamily units available for rent at $850 per month or less are restricted to the plaintiff, and that the law restricts "virtually the entire county" from the plaintiff.

Neither County Counsel Mark Nations nor the plaintiff’s attorney Janice Bellucci could be reached to comment on the story.

The only current supervisor on the board at the time the law was passed in 2008 was Mike Maggard.

At the time of its passage, the law caused some controversy among supervisors, as supervisors in more rural areas worried it would result in registered sex offenders moving out of metro Bakersfield and into rural areas of the county.

Supervisors only passed the housing restrictions, after a long back-and-forth period.

The state had required registered sex offenders to live more than 2,000 feet from schools and parks, but in 2015 the state Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional in San Diego County, which has caused some municipalities to begin repealing their own 2,000-foot restrictions for all sex offenders except pedophiles, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

The lawsuit was filed in Kern County Superior Court on Sept. 27, and a summons was issued to the county Oct. 2.

The plaintiff and his attorney have been ordered to show cause to the court on Jan. 15.

There are 795 registered sex offenders living in metro Bakersfield according to the state’s Megan’s Law website, which lists sex offender locations.

(6) comments

Yellowroselady

Women Against Registry is the voice of the families having loved ones required to register. We advocate for child sexual abuse prevention programs such as 'Stop it Now' which teaches parents and minors at age appropriate levels safety practices. We also promote the vision of Restorative Justice; restoration of the victim, the perpetrator AND the community. The media fear mongering around this issue is promoting fear and stiffling the sucess of those who have been adjudicated, paid their debt and are just trying to live in peace with their families without punitive punishments having no empirical evident to support it. In fact if you review the ATSA position paper on residency restrictions you will see it is counter productive.

WiseSage

I think a more sinister motivation is at work and that is just a pure unadulterated hatred and a determination that this one class of offenders is totally undeserving of another shot at a peaceful, enjoyable and fulfilling life. The laws are based on animus and hatred. The laws allow these offenders to be jailed for years on end simply for not doing paperwork. The supervision conditions are nothing more than a minefield of legal "gotchas". The laws are such as they are because society really doesn't want any sex offenders back in the free world again to begin with and they have seen to it that the laws all but ensure that end.

ISpy

The whole thing would work a lot better if there was some kind of distinction between types of sex offenders. A statutory rape - or an indecent exposure due to peeing outside - charge isn't indicative of the same danger of living near children that a pedophile charge is.

WiseSage

Ispy, you can't leave any part of it in place. The recidivism rates across the full spectrum is so much lower than any other class of felons. I think there is anti-male homosexual bias in the assumption that men who molest little boys are the most likely to re-offend. You don't hear the same said about women who molest little girls. Even among those who men who molest little boys, the recidivism rate is lower than any other felony you can think of.

Love prevails

I'm really glad that this citizen is brave enough to voice his disgust with the ridiculous laws that govern citizens on the registry. The registry needs to be abolished once and for all!

WiseSage

Love prevails, I could hug you! Thank you for being a voice of reason and compassion among a sea of hatred. Hatred drives our sex offender laws; not fear. If parents were really scared for the safety of their children, they would be watching their own relatives and friends much more closely than they watch the registry. It is a proven empirical scientific fact that 95% to 97% of children are molested by immediate family members, trusted friends and neighbors, and others in positions of special trust. Kid's shouldn't be raised to be afraid of their own shadow, but by the same token they don't need to be turned loose in their neighborhoods with no accountability for where they are or who they're keeping company with. All a would-be molester has to do is show the least kindness to a little boy or girl and give them some attention and immediately that person is their new best friend. That leads to grooming which leads to abuse and chances are greatly in favor of this abuser NOT being on the registry because he or she has never been caught before.

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