JACKSON, Ga. — Three sex offenders in a Georgia county are suing the sheriff over signs warning families not to trick-or-treat at the offenders’ homes.
News outlets report the lawsuit filed in federal court asks Butts County Sheriff Gary Long to stop putting the signs in the yards of convicted sex offenders.
The lawsuit by Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon says some of the county’s sex offenders were told to either display the signs or face unspecified trouble. Long says a hearing is set for Thursday.
Long has said the signs comply with a state law that forbids sex offenders from participating in Halloween. Other counties including Spalding and Monroe have taken similar approaches. Last year, Monroe County Deputy Marilynn Fitts said sex offenders without signs would have to spend the night at the sheriff’s office.
In a statement to WSB, the attorney representing the sex offenders said: “The sheriff’s actions in entering these citizen’s property without permission and placing signs thereon violates multiple legal and constitutional rights, particularly the right to free speech, which may not be compelled by a government actor.”
Resident Janie Bruce told WSB: “I even showed my kids. I was like, ‘see there, don’t go to that house.’ So to me, it is keeping your kids safe.”
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