Council passes sex offender ordinance
At a regular meeting of the Olney City Council on Monday, Oct. 8, the council unanimously approved the passing of an ordinance prohibiting registered sex offenders from childsafety zones, including the Olney Public Library and Arts Center.
The decision was made following the first reading of the ordinance at the council’s meeting on Sept. 24. The council noted that the opinions of OISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Roach, the lawyer representing the school district and Library Director Lori Cox, including any suggested amendments, were considered when drafting the ordinance.
“The ordinance has not changed since the first reading,” City Secretary Tim Houston said at the Oct. 8 meeting. “[This ordinance] will ban registered sex offenders from child-safety zones, including public parks, private and public schools, public libraries, amusement parks, arcades, carnivals and circuses, public and semi-private swimming pools, child-care facilities, public or private football, soccer and baseball fields, crisis centers or shelters, state parks, public or private youth centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys and scouting facilities.”
Houston said the only exception to the ordinance is in the event of an election.
“Registered sex offenders who have had their voting rights restored may enter the library or any other voting facility in a child-safety zone by taking the shortest, most direct route possible, both inside and outside the building,” he said.
Olney Mayor Phil Jeske clarified that the ordinance does not prevent registered sex offenders from utilizing the services of the Olney library.
“There is nothing in the ordinance that prevents them from having a library card or from reading books,” he said. “They can get a designee to go and pick-up books for them, access the card catalog online or have the books mailed to them.”
A notice of this ordinance will be mailed to all registered sex offenders residing in Olney, Houston said.
For a full list of registered offenders in Olney, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Sex Offender Registry online at https://bit.ly/2NDvVTG.