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Indiana courts allowing sex offenders in church while children present

Indiana Court of Appeals overturns a ruling by judges in Boone County in 2015 about not letting sex offenders in churches

Posted: Oct. 31, 2017 5:24 PM
Updated: Oct. 31, 2017 5:24 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Last Tuesday, the Indiana Court of Appeals made a judgment on whether or not sex offenders are allowed to practice their religion in places that have Sunday school.

The ruling stems from a 2015 incident in Boone County where the sheriff sent letters to the county's sex offenders informing them about Indiana's new "serious sex offender laws."

The law prohibits serious sex offenders from entering school property, which include churches that have Sunday school or child care.

Three serious sex offenders took the case to court saying this law violated indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and placed a burden on them being able to practice their religion.

After trials court judge sided with the letter of the law, an appeal was field with the Indiana Court of Appeals who stated

"the trial court abused its discretion in denying appellants' motion for a permanent injunction." Therefore ruling on the side of the sex offenders.

Janet Massey, a local resident and church go-er herself agrees with the state's decision, saying "I feel that we all have the right to attend a religious church of any kind and everybody should have that freedom even if they have been a sex offender because people can change because of church."

Another local, Patrick Michaels said he were not comfortable having sex offenders in churches with Sunday schools,

"They should have the absolute right to practice their religion. They have freedom of religion, but our rights are subject to other peoples rights also and to the extent that they infringe on other people's rights, they stop. There's a wall there," Michaels said.

Reverend Isaac Fincher of eleventh missionary baptist church, says he feels the court of appeals made the right decision, saying

"We have enough...you got your deacons, you have your people staff to watch over all the children and everything else. I haven't heard of any incident where a sex offender have attacked anybody at a church...Jesus never discriminated himself against anybody."

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