Peters requests ordinance to ban registered sex offenders from some areas of township
According to the most recent information on the state’s Megan’s Law website, there are three registered sex offenders living in Peters Township and another nine who work in the township. All of the registered offenders are men.
And while there are state laws prohibiting certain registered sex offenders from being within a certain distance of schools and other areas where children may be found, the township does not have the authority to further restrict those individuals from locations such as the library or the township’s parks, Solicitor William Johnson told members of council during a meeting March 25.
Peters Township Council asked Johnson to investigate if an ordinance could be enacted that included banning those registered as part of Megan’s Law from specified areas in the township.
In 2011, the state Supreme Court declared a similar ordinance in Allegheny County invalid as it preempted state laws, Johnson said.
Township police Harry Fruecht told council that unless an offender is declared by the state to be a violent sexual predator or a delinquent sexual predator, the police department is prohibited from notifying neighbors or co-workers. He said there has never been a declared violent sexual predator or a delinquent sexual predator living or working in the township.
The chief said there are websites that township residents may visit to learn the name, address and type of crime of a registered sexual offender. However, Freucht said he cannot give out the identities unless the individual was declared a violent sexual predator. The sites are www.pameganslaw.pa.us/entrypage.aspx and the independent www.familywatchdog.us. Township Manager Michael Silvestri said the two sites would be posted on the township’s website.
Additionally, anyone may sign up to be notified if a sexual offender moves into a specific neighborhood even through police are prohibited from giving out the information, Fruecht said.
“The township has no authority concerning sexual offenders,” Fruecht said.