Englewood sex offender residency restrictions ruled unconstitutional

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An ordinance that restricts where convicted sex offenders can live in Englewood was invalidated this week by a federal district judge.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that the ordinance, which made it illegal for certain types of registered sex offenders to live within proximity of a large number of locations where children might be present, violated the Colorado constitution because it “leaves essentially no place for offenders to live.”

Specifically, the Englewood ordinance prevents sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, park or playground; within 1,000 feet of any licensed day care center, recreation center or swimming pool; or from living at any property located next to a bus stop, walk-to-school route, or recreational trail.

Jackson went on to say that the ordinance pushes sex offenders to neighboring cities. This, Jackson said, “provides a false sense of security,” given that it could set a dangerous precedent.

“When town after town enacts similar restrictions, it poses the risk that sex offenders are driven underground and disconnected from treatment and supervision,” Jackson said.

Jackson said his ruling was based off data collected by the Sex Offender Management Board, which has suggested that blanket residency restrictions cause offenders to drop out of the statewide registration system, thus preventing offenders from reintegrating into society.

Jackson came to his ruling as a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Brett Ryals, a sex offender who served a two-year prison sentence for a felony conviction. When Ryal attempted to register a home he had purchased in Englewood, he was informed he was not permitted to live in the area.