Sex offenders sue over Apple Valley residency restrictions
APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — A group of convicted sex offenders is challenging a city ordinance in Apple Valley that they contend effectively bars them from living anywhere in the Minneapolis suburb.
Three unidentified sex offenders filed the federal class-action lawsuit on Wednesday. They’re asking for an injunction preventing Apple Valley officials from enforcing the restrictions on where sex offenders can live, the Star Tribune reported.
The ordinance bars people convicted of certain sex offenses from living within 1,500 feet (457 meters) of schools, parks, playgrounds, churches and child care centers. The lawsuit contends the ordinance is so broad that more than 90% of the residential properties within the city’s boundaries are off-limits to offenders.
Cities and counties across Minnesota have passed sex-offender residency restrictions in recent years, in part due to concerns that the state is running out of places to house offenders. More than 80 localities across Minnesota have adopted such ordinances.
Attorneys representing sex offenders argue that the measures violate civil rights and hamper efforts by the state to integrate offenders back into society.
Apple Valley’s city administrator Tom Lawell said Thursday the city has not yet been served with the lawsuit, so city officials are not able to comment.
The ordinance was passed in February 2017 after a Level 3 sex offender, considered the most likely to re-offend, was released into an Apple Valley neighborhood.