NATIONAL NEWS

Sex Offenders Sue Georgia Sheriff’s Office For Placing ‘No Trick-Or-Treat’ Signs In Their Yards

Oct 24, 2019, 11:42 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:02 pm
FILE (Getty Images)...
FILE (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNN) — A group of registered sex offenders has sued a Georgia sheriff over signs planted in their yards to warn trick-or-treaters not to visit their doorsteps on Halloween.

The federal suit claims Butts County Sheriff’s Office employees trespassed onto the registered offenders’ private property and “had no legal authority” to place the signs last October, causing them anxiety and humiliation.

Georgia displays all registered sex offenders’ names, photos and addresses in a public online directory. But, the suit argues, the offenders had “no legal obligation” to display the warning signs without compensation.

Georgia is not among states that have instituted “no-candy laws” that prohibit sex offenders on parole and probation from handing out candy on the holiday and require them to display signs revealing their status in their yards. In Missouri, registered sex offenders must remain inside their home between 5 and 10:30 p.m., unless they have to be somewhere, like their jobs, or for medical emergencies.

With Halloween coming around again next week, the Butts County Sheriff’s office plans to continue placing “no trick-or-treat” signs in sex offenders’ yards unless a judge rules it can’t, Sheriff’s Assistant Amanda Bone told CNN on Thursday.

Sheriff Gary Long was in court in Macon on Thursday morning for a hearing in the case, CNN affiliate WGXA reported.

“Regardless of the Judge’s ruling on Thursday, I WILL do everything within the letter of the Law to protect the children of this Community,” Long wrote Monday on Facebook.

His post includes a photo of a warning sign that states, “No trick-or-treat at this address!!” It does not make a reference to a sex offender, as the suit argues last year’s signs did.

Trick-or-treating event’s cancellation prompted signs

Registered sex offenders Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon sued last month on behalf of all registered sex offenders in Butts County. Defendants include Long, a deputy and three unnamed sheriff’s office employees who helped stake the signs, the complaint states.

Sheriff’s employees placed the signs in the yards of the named plaintiffs, including two who live at homes owned by at least one of their parents, court documents show. The workers told them the signs had to stay in place until after October 31.

Holden, a plaintiff, said the deputy told him he’d be arrested if he moved the sign, according to the suit.

“While there is not a single party to this suit who is not extremely concerned about the safety of the children in this and every other community,” sheriff’s employees violated their authority to place the signs on private property, plaintiff’s attorney Mark Yurachek told CNN in a statement.

“The Registry Statute affords the Sheriff many legal avenues by which he may publicize the name, address and even photograph of every registered sex offender in Butts County, but unless and until the Legislature authorizes it, coming onto their property to force them to display signs is simply not one of them,” he said.

The sheriff’s office planted the signs in 2018 after the county’s chamber of commerce canceled an annual trick-or-treating event, Long said in his social media post. Deputies suspected the cancellation would spur more children to go door-to-door for candy.

Georgia authorities round up sex offenders on Halloween

Some states, including New York and California, stop short of “no-candy laws” but require sex offenders to remain in their homes without interaction on Halloween and leave monitoring up to state departments of corrections.

Georgia doesn’t have a law that specifically forbids registered sex offenders from participating in trick-or-treating. Instead, offenders are subject to the general Georgia Department of Community Supervision’s conditions.

The department forbids registered sex offenders from having contact with children under 18 years old. If incidental contact occurs, offenders may be courteous but must immediately remove themselves from the situation.

The conditions also require sex offenders to follow any curfew community supervision officers impose.

The Newton County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office this year plans to corral sex offenders for its 13th annual Halloween shut-in in Covington. Offenders will hear from speakers from the sheriff’s office, courts and Department of Community Supervision.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed his upcoming trip to China in response to the fl...
Jennifer Hansler, Kevin Liptak, Jeremy Herb, Kylie Atwood, Jim Sciutto and Oren Liebermann

Blinken postpones trip to Beijing after Chinese spy balloon spotted over US

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed his trip to China in response to a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
1 day ago
An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was l...
Hannah Sarisohn

Residential care facility faces fine after woman pronounced dead found gasping for air in body bag

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was later found alive when a funeral director unzipped her body bag, according to documents from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
1 day ago
Three bodies found on Feb. 2 in the Detroit area are believed to be those of three rappers who have...
Joe Sutton and Emma Tucker

Bodies found in apartment identified as 3 Michigan rappers missing for almost 2 weeks, police say

Three bodies found in the Detroit area this week were identified by authorities Friday as those of three rappers who were missing for almost two weeks, according to Michigan State Police.
1 day ago
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Vis...
Associated Press

Authorities: 2 arrested in California shooting that killed 6

A California sheriff says two gang members suspected in the massacre of six people last month in central California have been arrested, one after a gunbattle.
1 day ago
Davion Irvin was arrested late Thursday night and charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-liv...
Chris Boyette and Vivian Kuo

Suspect arrested in case of tamarin monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo, police say

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas and charged in connection with the suspected theft of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys that were recovered unharmed this week in an abandoned home a day after they vanished from the Dallas Zoo, police said.
1 day ago
A suspected Chinese high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, on February 1. (Larry Maye...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky, Michael Conte and Nectar Gan, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Sex Offenders Sue Georgia Sheriff’s Office For Placing ‘No Trick-Or-Treat’ Signs In Their Yards