Sex Offender Sues Over Residency Ordinance

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ELK GROVE, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) — A registered sex offender is suing a California city, saying the city’s ordinance restricting where he can live violates state and federal constitutions.

Michael Steven Escobar, a registered sex offender on parole for child molestation, has sued the city of Elk Grove, near Sacramento, saying its ordinance would prevent him from residing with his ailing parents and would leave him few choices other than homelessness, the Sacramento Bee reported Monday.

Elk Grove’s ordinance prohibits a registered sex offender from residing within 2,000 feet of schools, day-care centers, playgrounds, parks, amusement centers or youth sports facilities.

Since he was released in June 2010 after serving nine years in prison for child molestation, Escobar has been living in his mother’s home in Elk Grove, less than 1,000 feet from a public park.

The ordinance, Escobar’s suit says, presents him with an “unconscionable choice between leaving his home — where he cares for his aging and ill parents — and becoming homeless or facing prosecution from the district attorney for violating the ordinance.”

A number of similar lawsuits have been filed against ordinances in cities and counties around the state, Michael Risher, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said.

“You have to live in the county,” Risher said, “but there’s nowhere in the county left to live.”

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