As Halloween approaches, law enforcement officials are advising parents to check state sex offender registries before letting their children go Trick-or-Treating. Sex offenders in Missouri are challenging the further restrictions related to Halloween activities. Maryland sex offenders have received letters from the state's Probation and Parole Division telling them to stay inside on Halloween from 6 P.M. until the next morning, as well as putting 'No Candy' signs on their doors. Officials in Idaho, Kentucky, New York, and Texas have begun taking similar precautions. The Washington Post has more. From the Associated Press:
The majority of arrests this week were of sex offenders who violated their registration requirements. The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force planned the roundup specifically for Halloween, officials said.
"There's a lot of kids that are going to be on the streets pretty soon," said Tom Smith, the supervisory deputy U.S. marshal, who headed the sweep.
Such sweeps are part of a nationwide law enforcement trend targeting sex-offense suspects or registered sex offenders on or before Halloween and more severely restricting their activities that night.
In Missouri, four sex offenders are suing over a new state law that requires them to avoid all Halloween-related contact with children, remain inside their homes and post a sign saying they have no candy to keep trick-or-treaters away. The ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed suit on the offenders' behalf in federal court Wednesday, arguing the provisions are too vague to enforce.
Maryland has an almost identical law and last week sent 1,200 violent and child sex-offenders a paper sign in the mail that read "No candy at this residence," which they must post on their front doors or possibly face a parole violation.
South Carolina has a 5 p.m. Halloween curfew for sex offenders on probation or parole. They cannot give out candy or have their outdoor lights on.
In New York, the Division of Parole requires registered sex offenders to stay home or in designated locations and makes spot checks to enforce the rule. Sex offenders also can't answer the door to trick-or-treaters, have Halloween candy in their possession or dress in costume.
Texas requires registered sex offenders to turn off their porch lights and prohibits them to have any exterior decorations between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m., with parole, probation and police officers checking to see if they comply.
Those opposed to the crackdowns say they unnecessarily scapegoat sex offenders who already are complying with the conditions of their parole.