Registered sex offenders in St. Charles aren’t allowed to decorate the outside of their homes for Halloween and must keep their porch lights off that night or risk being arrested, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
There are currently 89 registered sex offenders living in St. Charles and the Sheriff’s Office is in the process of performing compliance checks to make sure those offenders are living where they say they are.
"We perform compliance checks throughout the year, but especially during Halloween," Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said. "We know that Halloween is a time when innocent kids are out after dark."
It is against the law for sex offenders to give out candy or participate in Halloween activities. LaGrange said that if a registered sex offender keeps his or her porch light on that night, it is assumed that they are welcoming children to their home.
"Not only do we have compliance officers checking on sex offenders now, but they will patrol the parish on Halloween," LaGrange said. "They have a list of names and they will patrol those areas to make sure porch lights are off and there aren’t any sex offenders sitting in their front lawns passing out candy. If they find anyone doing so they will either be issued a citation or arrested depending on the terms of their probation."
Residents can view every sex offender in the parish by visiting www.stcharlessheriff.org and clicking on the "Sex Offenders" tab on the left side of the page. At that point residents can enter their address to see all registered sex offenders in the area.
"I think it’s important for parents to know exactly where these people are," LaGrange said. "For people that don’t check the web site throughout the year, Halloween is a great time for them to do so. These are people that committed a crime and sometimes they are repeat offenders.
"Halloween is just another opportunity for them to take advantage of kids."
In Louisiana, convicted sex offenders could spend from six months to three years in jail for handing out candy to "trick or treating" youngsters.