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Linden to adopt new sex offender regulations

On Wednesday, August 16, the city of Linden will adopt a new regulation concerning sex offenders, their living quarters and their places of recreation.

City administrator Cheryl Hall gave the first reading of the ordinance at this week’s city council meeting.

The proclamation states that any registered sex offender – which means anyone who has been convicted of a criminal sex offense including a person who has pleaded no contest to a criminal sex offense, regardless of whether a sentence or decree was withheld – can not live or loiter within 500 feet of a school public recreation facility, school or child care facility.

“If you think about it there are schools all around here,” Hall said, “so that covers most of the city.”

The actual proclamation reads “no adult criminal sex offender, after having been convicted of criminal sex offense involving a child, shall loiter on or within 500 feet of a public recreational facility…[or] shall accept, maintain or carry on any employment or vocation at or within 500 feet of any public recreational facility.”

In the first restriction, the proclamation defines loitering as entering or remaining on property while having no legitimate purpose there for or, if a legitimate purpose exists, remaining on that property beyond the time necessary to fulfill that purpose.

If a sex offender violates these rules on purpose, he or she may face up to six months in prison and/or be fined up to $500.

“We will have the second reading of it on August 15 at our next meeting,” Hall said. “Then when I post it that Wednesday, it goes into effect.”

The council says this ordinance is a way to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.

Hall also presented the 2006-07 budget to councilmembers and the council reappointed Jerry Gaddy to the utility board.

The next Linden City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15.