Sex Offenders: A WTOL11 Investigation

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Ohio law states that convicted sex offenders cannot live within 1000 feet of a school.  Despite this law, a Toledo News Now investigation showed several sex offenders registered at addresses near school buildings in the city of Toledo.

When Toledo News Now brought one instance to the attention to the Lucas County Sheriff's Department, they said there was nothing they could do.

"Sex offender comes in gives us an address, as long as we verify they live there, verify positively that they live there that's all we can do. There's nothing criminally that the sheriff's department can do if they live too close to a school. It's a civil action the individual city has to take," said Sgt. Rebecca Hussing of the Lucas County Sheriff's Office. "We let them know they come within 1000 feet of a school, they have a waiver that they have to sign, that basically says the city can come in and say you have to go."

Toledo News Now took their questions to the city of Toledo next. After discussing the matter with John Madigan, an attorney for the city, the task of investigating complaints about sex offenders was assigned to the division of code enforcement, under the department of inspection.  It appears that before questions were raised, no one at the city was dealing with the problem.

Farther, the city said they do not actively police the sex offender registry.  City officials only look into whether a sex offender is living too close to a school if there is a complaint.

"It's a law that was passed in such a way that it gives the city the option or the discretion to bring in action to enforce this law. It isn't mandatory; it doesn't say 'shall'. It says 'the city has a cause of action to enjoin an offender living within 1000 feet of a school," said Madigan. "Because we get complaints we can address it in that manor and at this point that's how we do it because it would just be too cumbersome to try and go look around and see who's and offender and who's looking too close to a school."

The investigation uncovered one more shocking detail.  It turns out that if a sex crime was commented before July 31, 2003, the 1000 foot rule does not apply.

CLICK HERE to view the Ohio Sex Offender Registry.

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