Judge: Sex Offenders Can Be Banned from Schools Law Barring Buffalo Grove Man from Schools Called Constitutional
Gordon, Tony, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Tony Gordon Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
A Lake County judge ruled Thursday that the state has the right to bar convicted sex offenders from school property.
Associate Judge Christopher Starck said the ban, effective Jan. 1, is "a collateral consequence" of a Buffalo Grove man's 1990 conviction for attempted child molestation in Maricopa County, Ariz.
Randy Stork, 39, of 982 Buffalo Grove Road, is charged with violating the law by going to Twin Groves Junior High School on Jan. 12 to drop off fliers advertising his disc jockey business.
Chicago attorneys Jed Stone and John Loevy argued that the law is overly broad, was enacted without notice and punishes conduct that otherwise would be legal.
"There is an absolute constitutional protection for commercial speech, which is exactly what Mr. Stork was engaging in when he was charged," Loevy said. "The notion of a sweeping banishment of an entire class of Americans from certain public places has no counterpart in this or any other jurisdiction."
Assistant State's Attorney Randie Bruno said the law's assumption that people convicted of sex crimes tend to act again, and therefore should not be at schools when children are present, has passed constitutional tests in the past.
"The state bans convicted felons from possessing firearms based on an assumption that they tend to be more dangerous with firearms than those who are not felons," Bruno said. "It follows that a person who has been convicted of a sex offense against a teenager should not be allowed to walk into a school full of teenagers because he would tend to be more dangerous."
Stone said that neither Stork nor his probation officer knew that the law was in effect prior to his arrest and that the state had an obligation to notify him that something he could have done legally on Dec. …