Pennsylvania Court of Appeals Rules Monroe County Private Housing Development Cannot Ban Sex Offenders – The Morning Call

A state appeals court has ruled that private housing developments do not have the right to outright ban registered sex offenders from living within their communities.

The state federal court that ruled in the Monroe County lawsuit said in 2016 the covenant in Tobihana Twp’s Lake Naomi residential community. It violates state regulations governing where registered sex offenders can reside.

The lawsuit has statewide ramifications as a state appeals court addressed for the first time whether communities of individual homeowners must comply with state regulations governing municipalities related to sex offender residency. affects

The Pocono Pines Community Association, which manages the Lake Naomi development, tried to bar homeowner Eric Rosado from returning to his property after he was released from prison in August 2018.

Rosado is serving a 2015 conviction for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl in the Naomi Lake home and a separate 2016 conviction under the Meghan Act and the Sex Offenders Registration Notice Act. I had to be registered for life as a Tier III sex offender. For assaulting the same child in New York.

The association filed a lawsuit in February 2019 after Rosado refused a request to move him out of his home. After a no-jury trial, a Monroe County judge voided the association’s oath based primarily on the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Charles Floss v. Allegheny County.

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In that case, the High Court nullified a county ordinance that prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools or other types of establishments frequented by children.

While acknowledging the public’s concern for the safety of children, the court found that Allegheny County’s ordinance was overly restrictive, not only protecting the general public but also giving violators a meaningful opportunity to reintegrate into society. It said it violated the intent of the state legislature when it passed Megan’s law.

In the Rosado case, a federal court also acknowledged safety concerns, but said they were addressed by safeguards built into SORNA, including notifying the public when certain sex offenders live in the neighborhood. rice field.

On appeal, the association argued that the Fross decision was not binding because it involved county ordinances.

A three-member Commonwealth Court panel rejected the argument, saying that private development must comply with the same laws as local governments.

“The private community cannot impose stricter standards than counties and local governments on where released sex offenders can live,” the court said.

A ruling does not necessarily end litigation, as the owner’s association may appeal. Attempts to get the association’s attorneys to comment on a possible appeal were unsuccessful. Pennsylvania Court of Appeals Rules Monroe County Private Housing Development Cannot Ban Sex Offenders – The Morning Call

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