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.