County to appeal sex offender ruling

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Allegheny County will appeal a federal court ruling that struck down an ordinance banning sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a child care facility, recreational facility, community center, public park or school.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster said the ordinance, which was unanimously approved by County Council in October 2007, undermined state law. The ordinance was challenged last year by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six sex offenders.

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said that Megan's Law requires sex offenders to register their addresses with local police departments, but it does not prevent them from living next door to a school, day care center or other places where children are regularly present.

"A lot of time and effort by a number of county officials went into crafting this ordinance, and we feel it is needed, just on solid legal ground," said county Councilman Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, who initially sponsored the bill.



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