Proposed Tulsa City Ordinance Aims To Restrict Sex Offenders On Halloween

Thursday, October 3rd 2013, 10:41 pm

The Tulsa City Council is looking into restrictions on sex offenders during Halloween. They could be banned from handing out candy.

It's something that's happened in some other cities, and what seems to be driving the discussion is what people have heard about other cities trying different kinds of bans.

It's not driven by what's actually happened on Halloween.

No one seems to have established a link between Halloween and sex crimes against children, but a growing number of cities have bans on sex offenders offering candy at their doors.

Tulsa City Councilor Jeannie Cue said her constituents are asking for one here.

"What they've heard--other cities have these ordinances. Do we have them? If we don't, why don't we have them? What can we do to get them passed?" Cue said.

She has teamed up with Councilor Arianna Moore to push for a new city ordinance, but with less than a month before Halloween, there's no chance of it happening this year, and it's loaded with legal questions, according to the city's top attorneys.

"In order to exercise police power to outlaw something, prohibit or restrict something, there has to be a problem," said City Attorney David O'Melia.

The city attorney and prosecutor said any ban would likely end up in court, and regardless there's a lot to consider. Would it ban just handing out candy or include prohibiting decorations that invite children? Would it cover all sex offenders or just pedophiles? And would it apply just on Halloween or any other time when children might go door-to-door?

"And actually, we would want to go for all holidays," Moore said.

The biggest legal hurdle, councilors were told, was proof a new law was needed.

"I don't know of any statistics that say registered sex offenders, on Halloween commit, offenses against children," O'Melia said.

The council wants to continue down this path, so the city attorney said he'll have a lawyer look into the possibilities, and try to come up with something that would stand up in court.