LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – A registered sex offender and his family are suing the City of Lewisville over its restrictions on where sex offenders can live.
Aurelio Duarte, his wife Wynjean and their two teenage daughters say they haven’t been able to buy or even rent a house in the city in almost two years. They’ve lived, instead, in a cramped motel room, where the girls share one bed just a few feet from their parents. “I hate it. It’s really embarrassing,” said 18-year-old Brandi Duarte. “I have to keep it a secret that I live here.”
Convicted of trying to solicit a minor online, Aurelio Duarte served three years behind bars. “I really thought I was going to come back home and start my life fresh again,” he said. During his time away though, the City of Lewisville passed a new ordinance, barring sex offenders who’ve committed crimes against minors from living within 1,500 feet of anywhere children would commonly gather. According to the ordinance, that means any public park, public playground, public swimming pool, public or nonprofit recreational facility, as well as any school, daycare center or video arcade.
A map of those areas — provided by the city — shows, when they’re excluded, there’s very little space left. “When you do find an area, a street, where you can live, you have to wait for someone to move out,” said Wynjean Duarte.
“It basically prevents someone who is required to register from living within the city limits,” said the family’s attorney, Richard Gladden. He said that they are suing Lewisville to challenge the constitutionality of restricting where sex offenders can live. “All these studies that have been done show invariably that these types ordinances have absolutely no effect.”
“I’m not a threat to anyone,” said Aurelio Duarte.
Playing with her grandson at a Lewisville park, Patricia Robertson said, while she supports the residency restrictions, she doesn’t believe they do much. “They don’t make me feel any safer,“ she said.
“If something bad is going to happen. It’s going to happen,” agreed Amy Martinez, a mother sitting nearby, who opposes the restrictions.
The City of Lewisville declined to comment on the lawsuit.
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