Group suing Texas cities over sex offender living restrictions

A Texas advocacy group is suing more than 40 small cities asking them to get rid of restrictions on where sex offenders can live.

“Many cities have decided to limit where sex offenders can live within a certain distance of schools, daycares and other sensitive areas,” Bennett Sandlin, executive director of Texas Municipal League, said.

The organization Texas Voices for Reason and Justice filed the lawsuit. Sandlin believes the group has no grounds to sue.

“Some of the defenses against this lawsuit are that they are an advocacy group that doesn't have standing to sue a city, it has to be an individual person,” he said.

The attorney for the group argues that these cities are violating the Texas Constitution.

“There are scores of general law cities with populations of less than 5,000, who have knowingly and intentionally enacted sex offender residency restriction ordinances that are invalid under Texas law,” Richard Gladden, attorney for Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, said.

Gladden says in fact, these ordinances could make children less safe. He says the offenders often don't register at all.

“They basically go underground and law enforcement is unable to track them or know where they live,” he said.

With a threat of a lawsuit, some cities have already repealed their ordinances. The litigation could go on for several months, even longer.

“All we're asking is that a court if necessary, forces the cities to follow the law, that's it,” Gladden said.

The organization made it clear they are not seeking any money. They say they just want these cities to get rid of their ordinances.

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