A group of sex offenders in Georgia have filed a class-action lawsuit after objecting to "No Trick-or-Treat" signs posted at their homes by the local sheriff ahead of Halloween.
The registered sex offenders claim the signs violate their privacy and their right to free speech, and have asked a federal judge to stop Butts County Sheriff Gary Long from placing them.
“It’s easy to pick on these guys," lawyer Mark Yurachek told TV station 11 Alive. “Because nobody really wants to see anything done for a sex offender. But I promise you if this goes by without a legal challenge and push-back, it’s going to get worse ... the Sheriff’s going to say the next time, when it’s the DUI registry, and he wants to identify people who drink and drive, that that’s okay, as well.”
Sheriff Long, who also posted the signs last year, says he plans to argue during a hearing later this week that he is following state law by placing the signs.
“Regardless of the Judge’s ruling this Thursday, I WILL do everything within the letter of the Law to protect the children of this Community,” Long wrote on Facebook.
Sheriff Long also offered a link to the sex offender registry in Monday’s social media post.
In full, the signs read “WARNING! No trick-or-treat at this address!! A community safety message from Butts County Sheriff Gary Long.” There are 56 registered sex offenders in Butts County, according to 11 Alive.
“I’m just not sure that this kind of action makes your kids any safer,” Yurachek told Fox 5. “It just makes your constitutional rights less safe.”