City of Lincoln
2005 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that she has instructed City staff to prepare an ordinance limiting where convicted sex offenders could live in the community. She said the City must be prepared to act quickly on the issue and called on the City Council to support the proposed safety measure.
“Sex offenders can pose a high risk to children,” said Mayor Seng. “That’s why many states, including Nebraska, have adopted sex offender registries. Some cities and other states also are going a step further by adopting residency requirements. I have been looking at the situation for some time now, and I am concerned that if Lincoln does not act, we could see a migration of sex offenders who have been affected by the laws of other communities. Lincoln cannot sit on the sidelines on this issue. To do nothing may put our children at greater risk and harm the high quality of life in Lincoln.”
The state of Iowa recently enacted tough restrictions prohibiting anyone convicted of a sexual offense against a minor to live within 2,000 feet of schools or child care centers, effectively forcing pedophiles out of many Iowa communities. Last month, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld the constitutionality of the Iowa law. In response, South Sioux City and Dakota City, both in Nebraska, have adopted similar ordinances out of concern that many pedophiles would simply move across the river into their communities. Gretna, Papillion, and Springfield also are considering similar measures.
“Residency restrictions limit the access pedophiles may have to children,” said Mayor Seng. “Sex offenders who live in close proximity to schools, parks, child care centers and libraries are a potential threat to our children’s safety. Parents need assurance that their children will be safe as they walk to school or play at a park. As Mayor, it is my duty to do all in my power to protect our children.”
Seng said members of the State Legislature are talking about similar statewide legislation. “I’m pleased the Legislature is considering statewide action, but the City of Lincoln needs to be ready to act on behalf of our community,” said Mayor Seng. Seng noted that because the State Regional Center is in Lincoln, where many sex offenders are treated and then released, and because of some very serious assaults on children, Lincoln is very aware of the harm sex offenders can inflict.