Man in Fishkill Suing to be Removed From Sex Offender Registry
A man in Dutchess County who's been forced to register as a sex offender says the registry is unconstitutional and he's suing to be removed from it.
According to Inner City Press, Karl Pennington was arrested two decades ago for kidnapping a 17-year-old. Currently residing at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, Pennington says he was forced to register as a sex offender because the child was under 18 and he was not their parent or guardian.
The crime was part of gang activity and, according to Pennington, is now causing him to stay in prison even though he's been paroled. Thanks to New York's Sexual Assault Reform Act, those who are listed on the sex offender registry are not allowed to reside within 1,000 feet of a school. Unfortunately, if that person has friends and family in New York City, that rule makes it virtually impossible to live with them. The residence restriction rules out being able to live in nearly all of Manhattan and the Bronx, as well as most of Brooklyn and Queens.
Because of this, people like Pennington are forced to remain behind bars even after being paroled. That's why he's filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and enforcement of New York's Sex Offender Registry rules.
Many people will be watching this case closely, as the issue has affected many recently paroled prisoners who find themselves in the same situation. Advocates like the Fortune Society have suggested modifying the 1,000-foot rule and narrowing the groups of criminals who are subject to residency restrictions to those that actually pose a threat to children.