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Riverside County considers Halloween sex-offender ban

This post has been amended. See note below.

Riverside County supervisors will consider a measure that would ban sex offenders from putting up Halloween decorations or handing out candy to children.

The urgency ordinance is on the agenda for the supervisors' Tuesday meeting. If passed, it will take effect immediately.

The measure would bar registered sex offenders from answering the door to trick-or-treating children or decorating their homes with Halloween decorations between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31 each year. Beyond that, they would be prohibited from leaving any external lights on between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Halloween night.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, who introduced the ordinance, noted that the cities of Orange and San Jacinto already have similar measures in place.

The Murrieta Police Department has sent out yearly warnings to sex offenders convicted of crimes against children.

"To avoid any unnecessary allegations of impropriety with minors, I strongly suggest you protect yourself by voluntarily refraining from interacting with the children during the trick-or-treat holiday," the letter from Murrieta Police Chief Mark Wright said last year.

The city of Perris voted down a similar proposal after concerns about civil rights violations were raised. 

[For the record at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20: An earlier version of this post included a photo of an elaborately-decorated home, which had no connection to this story. The Times regrets the error.]

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-- Abby Sewell

Photo credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

 
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