By Joanna Small
Missouri's law no longer applies to everyone, and one man tells us it's a small victory. Others say it is a major concern.
Changes to a relatively new law are in place. For the past two years Missouri law has restricted all sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities. Now only those convicted after the law went into effect will have to abide by it.
It's only been on the books since August 28, 2008. There are about 850 registered sex offenders in Greene County alone, and between 20 and 30 were convicted after that date. The rest now have a legal right to their Halloween.
"Mine and her situation was a one-night stand where she lied about her age."
For [name withheld] that situation resulted in a child, a more than six and a half year prison term, three years of parole, and a lifetime on Missouri's sex offender registry.
"People need to leave us alone and let us get on with our lives."
Not to mention a permanently tainted resume and isolation from his family.
On Halloween, [name withheld]- convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a 15-year-old girl at age 20- planned not to be home.
"That way I'm not here to keep my family from passing out candy," he explains.
But plans, like laws, change. He was convicted in 2001, seven years before Missouri's sex offender Halloween law took effect.
The law no longer applies to people like [name withheld] so on Halloween night he has every right to pass out candy, but that doesn't mean that everybody's happy about it.
"Well my first thought is my grandkid," says Jeff Stevens.
The grandfather doesn't agree with grandfathering in. He lives near [name withheld] and says the law should be universal, regardless of when the offense was committed and what it was.
- I disagree, that would be against the Constitutions ex post facto clause.
"A sex offense is a sex offense; I don't care what it is. I mean if it's your wife, a 4-year-old, it doesn't matter," says Stevens.
Other neighbors say it does.
"If you have a younger girlfriend that's not being a sex offender."
Jackie Loftin says she wishes the law only applied to some sex offenses. But because it doesn't and now excludes the bulk of all offenders, she says parental policing is more important than ever.
"If you have a child you have a big personal responsibility to know where that child is going and if they're safe," explains Loftin.
- Even without the laws, that is your personal responsibility as a parent, otherwise, don't have kids!
[name withheld] says he's never posed any kind of safety risk to children, and he plans to- legally- prove it.
"If I have my way about it I will pass out candy," he concludes.
In Missouri sex offenders have to register with the county they live in every three months for the rest of their lives.
[name withheld] committed his offense in Kansas. It's been ten years and he no longer has to register there. He hopes to move back after winning custody of his son.