Thursday, January 02, 2020

Suit Challenges Attempt To Force Sex Offenders Out of Church's Program

The Chicago Tribune reports on a Dec. 30 lawsuit arguing that  the city of Aurora and Kane County (Illinois) are violating the rights of 18 registered sex offenders staying at Wayside Cross Ministries:
The city of Aurora has contended for months that new mapping software showed the men, registered child sex offenders participating in a rehabilitation program at Wayside Cross Ministries, live too close to McCarty Park on Aurora’s near East Side. The city deems it a playground, which would mean the men are in violation of a state law requiring them to live more than 500 feet from schools, playgrounds, daycare centers and other child-focused locations....
The men argue in the lawsuit that Aurora and the Kane County state’s attorney are “misinterpreting and misapplying the residency law." The suit argues the way they are applying the law “to force plaintiffs out of Wayside Cross substantially burdens plaintiffs’ exercise of religion and is not the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest," and amounts to a violation of the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act,,,,
The most recent lawsuit, filed in Kane County circuit court, argues that instead of measuring the required 500-foot-distance from the edge of the park, it should be measured from the edge of an area deemed a playground, such as the park’s fountain or two rocking horses installed in the summer. Both of those features are more than 500 feet from Wayside’s property line, according to the lawsuit.