RUMFORD – Voters going to the polls Tuesday will decide whether to
approve Rumford’s first sex-offender ordinance, which would bar such
convicts from living near schools, day care centers and recreation
facilities.

Phone calls from convicted sex offenders seeking to
live here, where there is no such law, spurred police to quickly
propose one.

“We didn’t want Rumford to be a safe haven for
convicted sex offenders,” police Chief Stacy Carter said Tuesday. “And,
we wanted to provide reasonable protection for our children.”

The
law would not apply to the 28 sex offenders already living in town, and
they would not be required to move if new schools or day care centers
are built or relocated near them.

The ordinance, which states
that sex offenders who prey on children are at a higher risk to
re-offend, targets people convicted of sex offenses against children
under the age of 18 and who are required to register for life as
convicted sex offenders.

It would prevent them from living or
loitering within a 2,500-foot radius of the property line of a school
or within a 1,000-foot radius of the property line of a day care
center. The law also would ban them from entering a school or day care
center unless specifically authorized to do so by the school
administration or day care owner.

Violating the ordinance would
prompt court action to force compliance or a minimum fine of $500
compounded daily for each day the violation continues after town notice.

Should
the town prevail in court, it would be entitled to receive reasonable
attorney’s fees, expert witness fees or any other associated costs.

Carter
said that pending voter approval, Rumford would join the few towns that
have recently enacted sex-offender residency laws.

“It’s something relatively new across the state,” he said.


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