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Boone County sheriff: Some homeless sex offenders can live on jail property

Homeless Boone Co. sex offenders live near jail
Posted at 12:02 PM, Oct 26, 2017

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. -- Through a Facebook post, the Boone County Sheriff reassured the public that he's paying attention to the homeless population of sex offenders in his county.

There are 93 registered sex offenders living in Boone County, and the sheriff's office has asked some of the homeless ones to park their cars on the office property. This has concerned some people, leading to posts on social media.

"When an offender is listed as homeless in Boone County the law requires them to personally check in with our staff once a week," Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielson said. "I also have deputies doing random checks on these offenders to assure they are staying where they are registered."

Nielson said he's trying to find more permanent housing for the offenders, but the jail is not within 1,000 feet of a public park or school property. 

"This is not a long-term solution by any means, it is only a stop gap until we figure out the best way to deal with these registered sex offenders," Nielson said. 

Nielson also said there is a sex offender living in a tent on jail property. That person calls to check in every day, makes his weekly appointments and has a full-time job. He was living on railroad tracks in Lebanon, which was too close to schools and houses. 

"When sex offenders are let out of jail, they become my responsibility to keep track of by Indiana law, if that is part of their sentence," Nielson said. "In my mind, having them homeless and living in parking lots or in tents on the railroad underpasses does not coincide with my number one mission… which is to keep everyone safe that lives and travels through Boone County."

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently ruled on sex offenders in churches, stemming from a Boone County case. 

In the ruling, the court decided churches are not school property, even if Sunday school or child care services are offered there. This means people who are considered "serious sex offenders" by Indiana law can attend church.

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Read the full Facebook post below: 

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