A federal judge has given convicted sex offenders a deadline — by the first of September they have to move, if they live within two-thousand feet of a school or daycare in Iowa. When that law was passed three years ago, it was immediately challenged as being too strict, but a ruling by District Judge Robert Pratt was recently overturned by a 3-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Scott County attorney Bill Davis says local prosecutors are being informed of the new deadline. “I can’t say that this is a surprise,” says Davis. Since the circuit court overturned Judge Pratt’s ruling they’ve been waiting for him to send an order to uphold the new law, and now he’s given local jurisdictions till September 1 to enforce it. Are there offenders living within that two-thousand-foot boundary? Davis is certain he’s got some in Scott County. He says there are about 400 registered sex offenders in the county, and right around 400 daycares and schools, he’s sure there are some who’ve moved into areas near them since the law was enacted, and those offenders will have to move. He adds that any who were living there before the law was enacted can stay. Davis isn’t concerned about the reports that many released sex offenders don’t keep their current address up-to-date as required by state law.He says they’re required to register when they leave prison to return to the community, he points out, and tell the local sheriff where they’re living. “We do check on those from time to time,” Davis says. “We have fulltime officers who do nothing but that.” He says authorities are doing their best to monitor the whereabouts of those registered sex offenders. He fears it may give people a false sense of security but says nonetheless “We’re doing our darndest.” The state has an estimated 6-thousand sex offenders, though it’s not clear how many will face moving within the next two weeks to comply with the judge’s order.
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