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September 20, 2017

"Does barring sex offenders from church violate RFRA?"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting new article in the Indiana Lawyer discussing interesting litigation working through the Indiana courts. Here is how the piece gets started:

Shortly after the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act went into effect in Indiana in 2015, the unlawful entry by a serious sex offender statute, which prohibits certain sex offenders from accessing school property, also became law. Now, those two statutes are at odds with each other as the Indiana Court of Appeals decides whether an interpretation of the statute that prohibits three men from going to church constitutes a RFRA violation.

Under the unlawful entry by a serious sex offender statute, Indiana Code 35-42-4-14, offenders convicted of certain sex offenses cannot knowingly or intentionally enter school property without committing a Level 6 felony. The Boone County sheriff determined that statute meant sex offenders in the county, including John Does 1, 2 and 3, could not attend church if their churches offered programs for children at least 3 years old who are not yet in kindergarten. The Boone Superior Court agreed, determining that anytime churches offer such programs, they are considered “school property,” and, thus, are unavailable to the John Does.

But because each of their churches offer children’s programming simultaneously or nearly simultaneously with adult services or Bible studies, the three men told the Indiana Court of Appeals during oral arguments in the case of John Doe, et al. v. The Boone County Prosecutor, et al., 06A01-1612-PL-02741, the sheriff’s letter effectively prohibits them from attending church at any time. The appellate case turns on two central issues that divided counsel for the state and the offenders: whether churches can be considered “school property” and whether the prohibition against the Does attending church violates their rights under RFRA.

September 20, 2017 at 05:15 PM | Permalink


RFRA isn't absolute anyway -- the compelling interest of these things might be exaggerated but it is often assumed to be pretty compelling.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 20, 2017 7:47:08 PM

Should not kids in school or in church be considered to be the safest from predators? They have continual adult eyesight supervision. Once again, with the lawyer stupidity.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 20, 2017 8:44:40 PM

Where better for a "criminal" to be then in Church?

In my opinion: every case should be treated with concern and facts. Not all accused sex offenders are actually guilty of a sexual offense. Elementary students should not be on a sex offender list, incompetent judgement puts them there.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Sep 21, 2017 1:48:28 PM

LC. What an excellent point. Apologies if praise from me tarnishes your reputation among the assholes on this blog, especially the feminists.

Religion is a far more effective source of morality and proper behavior than the legal system. So, take some of the most morally wretched people, people who sexually abuse children, and keep them from getting religion. Take locations where children are the safest of all, continually, eyesight supervised churches and schools, and by dozens of responsible adults. Now, keep child sex predators away from there. The lawyer forbids it.

What is the most dangerous location for child victims of sexual abuse, their home. Let's meet a divorced matron on Tinder, go to her house. While she is asleep drunk, go after her children sexually. No comment from the lawyer profession.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 21, 2017 4:58:57 PM

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