Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — no sex offenders allowed

By Sandy

Tuesday, May 10, the city of Jacksonville, Florida kicked off the Halloween season early and made some inroads into Thanksgiving and Christmas also. They approved changes in the language of the law that addresses where those designated as sexual offenders and sexual predators may not go and what decorations they cannot display.

According to Action News, Jacksonville, “The law restricts sex offenders from attending events that are primarily targeted toward children who are unrelated to the sex offenders. It also bans sex offenders from displaying decorations that are primarily targeted to attract children.”

The actual language reads, “It is unlawful for any Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator to participate in any practice or event, including, but not limited to, any event related to a nationally or locally recognized holiday or seasonal event, if such practice or event is primarily targeted toward non-familial children.”

According to this, then, registrants may “participate” in a family Thanksgiving dinner or a gift exchange around their own Christmas trees or Hanukkah wreaths, but…

  • Taking their own kids trick-or-treating is out as well as letting their kids welcome neighborhood trick or treaters at their homes;
  • No Christmas Eve children’s pageant at church; actually, with the “any event” wording, no children’s Sunday School, church, or day school event at all, even ones in which their own kids are participants;
  • No taking their kids to the school or neighborhood Halloween carnival;
  • Fourth of July in the park is out; heck, the park is probably out;
  • They can forget watching their own children in their schools’ Thanksgiving or Winter Holiday programs; the programs target, primarily, non-familial children.

Oh, and there’s more: “A clarification of the ban on Holiday displays by that class of criminals, if such display is primarily targeted to entice, attract, or lure a child onto any residence, or property, or onto or nearer to any vehicle or vessel rented, owned or occupied by such person. Display is defined as any decoration including, but not limited to, lighting, figurines, posters, artwork, crystals, bales of hay, scarecrows, etc. which is visible to the public in plain view and is primarily targeted toward children.”

So…no external decorations; nothing Halloweeny in the yard or the outside of the house, probably not even lights on if they “are visible to the public” through windows on Halloween evening. Certainly no outside Christmas lights nor fake—or real—snowmen in yards. Santa Claus can’t rest on those rooftops. No autumn wreaths on doors. No menorahs in the window on Hanukkah. No giant bunnies at Easter time.

Those would be perceived as primarily targeting children. The only glimmer of hope is the possibility of a registrant challenging the city to prove that his Christmas tree, seen through a window, was primarily intended to lure or entice a child.

It would almost be funny – but it isn’t. It rips at the very fabric of family life for many, many thousands of registrants with children. Special days and events make the memories that help shape children’s lives, and there isn’t a one of us who do not want their children’s memories of childhood’s special occasions to include both mom and dad being there.

These laws and rules destroy those memories, and for no valid purpose. There is not one iota of evidence of any increase in sexual assaults on children by strangers on the registry during Halloween or any other holiday. There is no recorded instance of a registrant putting on a Halloween costume and abducting or molesting a random child. An exhaustive search reveals no cases of children being lured onto the property of strangers by Christmas lights or Thanksgiving decorations or bales of hay with scarecrows on top, only to be seized and molested by someone on the registry.

I am ending this with a question, one asked by a columnist I have long admired and respected, Leonard Pitts, in something he wrote very recently. He was writing about a different topic, but the question he asks is as apropos of this issue as to his subject, and it is one that we are becoming all too adept at answering.

“How many times have you seen laws promulgated to address things that never happen?”

How many times, indeed.





someone outside of NARSOL

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22 Thoughts to “Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — no sex offenders allowed”

  1. FredFred

    “The law restricts sex offenders from attending events that are primarily targeted toward children who are unrelated to the sex offenders.”

    So, considering how most sex offenses are committed against a relative or family acquaintance, what are they trying to accomplish here?

    1. AvatarTara

      This is meant as more of a joke…. but, hey… they’re wanting to help.
      Really, I got three kids. 16,12, and 2. My father, 3 brothers, and 1 sister, who don’t even know of the third at all. Which tears me up! Idk what to do anymore.

    2. FredFred

      I think you are saying your dad and your siblings don’t know about your 2 year old. If so that is really terrible. Is the law the reason they don’t know.

      (What I meant to say above is that statistics show that most victims know their abuser. Therefore this law makes no logical sense as the people they don’t know are far less likely to be at risk. On the bright side the more of these absurd laws that get passed, the more federal court cases that will build up mean the more likely federal judges are going to abolish this entire system.

    3. AvatarTara

      Yes the law is why he doesn’t know. He told me something the other night pertaining to his health. I wanted to tell him I understood cause I had these issues during my pregnancy. But I can’t. He doesn’t even know of his youndest grandson. And he is great withhis grandkids!

    4. AvatarPaul

      Assuming we are that lucky, every one of those cases would end up in an appellate court and if the scales are tipped our way, no doubt in the Supreme Court. With a 4-4 tie or a 5-4 split (which I fear with the way things are going) no change will come to fruition. Remember, the Solicitor General cited in the Amicus brief in McKune that bogus statistic from Psychology Today which suggested our recidivism rate was “frightening and high”, something like 80%. This is what Anthony Kennedy relied upon. We are not dealing with rational people here.

      I like your idealism though, Fred. I just wish I was as optimistic as you and I say that without sarcastic and in all seriousness.

    5. Avatard

      Fear mongering?

  2. AvatarAnonymous NY

    What if a municipality passes a law that reads: “a registered sex offender can not walk in public” ?

    1. AvatarPaul

      Well, I guess we’d have to invent teleportation. Any physics majors among us? :o)

      No Christmas lights, eh? Seriously? Christmas lights? I really wasn’t aware of Christmas lights ever being used as an object of enticement. Geez, these people have gotta be proud of themselves. They have not only helped to ban us from most churches, but now we can’t show our holiday spirit on our own property. They say the holiday season is the one time of year people are most depressed. This just rubs salt into the wound.

    2. Avatard

      Yeah, when i was a child you couldn’t keep me away from those hale bales. Like a moth to a flame. Gimme a break.

      My living room has Xmas lights in it year round. I find it soothing. So far no children have wandered in my upstairs apartment. Would having those lights be a violation?

      What about lava lamps, colored lights, or pictures of clowns? Is tinsel okay? What about that flower bouquet on my kitchen table? Is there guidelines for the color I chose to paint my walls or what type of artwork I wish to display?

      Children like animals. What’s next? Banning us from owning pets? Should we only be allowed to own porcupines and skunks?

      Oh brother…..

    3. Avatardaryl a young

      lol But in all seriousness, Its just confirmation of signs of our time predicted along time ago & its going to get a lot worse sooner than we can imagine. I myself am in the process of petioning the post conviction sor website page of Virginia “THAT IS A LIE” and has caused much misery & heartache these past 16yrs & they KNOW it. Hang in there brother Jesus is coming back soon. 🙂

  3. AvatarAnonymous NY

    Somebody who wants to help would have a clear path to a achieve the goal of safety & rehabilitation. This is a bunch of idiots in a room who are putting the public at risk by tearing up families, literally.

  4. I guess 4th of July (fireworks attract kids), Valentines Day (candy), Easter (same), Kwanzaa and Hanukkah (because it’s like Christmas and all) are all on the chopping block next. But at least we can still celebrate “slave owning guy who took a wrong turn and ruined our continent day” aka Columbus Day and National Lawmaker Appreciation Day (aka April Fool’s Day.)

    1. AvatarMatthew

      National Lawmaker Appreciation Day. I like it!

    2. AvatarPaul

      Derek, you’re sounding a bit like one of my heroes, Howard Zinn, especially with the Columbus Day comment. But you’re right. I think Howard actually signed on to an RSOL petition before he passed away.

      If we really let our imaginations take root, it’s easy to imagine the restrictions that could be passed in the future. As James mentioned, children like animals. So do adults! Au Revior, pets?? Children like candy. So do some adults. Children like Christmas lights. So do some adults. It actually turns out that children and adults like many of the same things and they don’t all happen to be things made be matel or seen on Disney Channel or Teen Nick.

  5. AvatarEmil S

    North Carolina already bans sex offenders from going to state fair in Raleigh, so that’s nothing new.

    1. AvatarEmil S

      What will the police department do when they are entangled in the same mess that are exclusively for those perverts?


  6. AvatarHopeisBS

    Fear mongering at its best, but until the other hundreds of thousands RCs get tired of it I really do not know what to do. After so many years of being on the registry and fighting for a way off only to make my lawyers richer. Is there any group that is worth joining and investing in that will get something done? We have to start thinking outside the box, it is very apparent that the way we fight the laws now are not working.

  7. AvatarSHAY

    My point is this….. If a person is truly sick, they will find a child anywhere. Prohibiting ALL sex offenders from celebrating holidays is just ridiculous! They not only prohibit decorations but in Jacksonville FL, they also require ALL sex offenders to put a SIGN on their house stating they do not celebrate Halloween. The local sheriffs office then drives by your house to make sure you have it up. If not, you are going back to prison. They also put Sex Offender on their ID’s and Licenses. Lets be real people, theres more children at McDonalds & Walmart on a daily basis then in most neighborhoods.

    1. Avatard

      Duh, right? It’s sooooo stupid. Who could possibly believe such a scheme would ever work? Are people really that dumb? Sort of makes one paranoid, like, is there some hidden agenda here? Are the laws passed based on their face value, i.e. “protecting the children”? There’s been a lot of speculation on this site concerning ulterior motives behind these sex crime laws. It does make one wonder…

    2. AvatarTara

      Shay, I hear you entirely. I am an s.o and kansas has us do that too. We have to get an r.o # on our identification or license. The way ww are treated is hell. I just get to where I lose hope. Unless there are bunch of us who agree to stand up and fight this as a whole, Idk.

  8. AvatarTerrie

    This is absolutely rediculas. This madness needs to stop!

  9. AvatarLost in georgia

    It’s gotten worse lately, I just received this years restrictions and I’m not even allowed to decorate the inside of my house. What is the reasoning there? I’m not entirely sure if that’s actually legal.

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