Aurora continues attempts to move sex offenders away from park
Aurora police have given a new deadline for relocation to 19 child sex offenders who live at Wayside Cross Ministries in the city's downtown -- at an address the city says is too close to a playground.
Aurora Police Department spokesman Paris Lewbel said police on Friday issued notices of violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act, telling the offenders they must move by Jan. 15 to a residence compliant with state law, which prohibits child sex offenders from residing within 500 feet of a playground.
Wayside Cross at 215 E. New York St. is near McCarty Park at 350 E. Galena Blvd.
Aurora city officials in June said they remeasured the distance and found it to be less than 500 feet. Authorities then issued 30-day notices giving the men until July 26, or in one man's case, until August, to move.
The issue of whether the child sex offenders can continue living at Wayside Cross, where five are resident staff members who have completed a rehabilitation program and all are involved in Christian activities, hinges on whether McCarty Park meets the state definition of a playground. The park has two rocking horses for children.
Lewbel said police issued new notices on Friday telling the sex offenders they must leave after the Kane County state's attorney's office concurred with a previous determination that McCarty Park is a playground, as defined by state law, and that Wayside Cross' location is within 500 feet of that playground. He said police are required to register the addresses of sex offenders, but "there is no legal authority for the Aurora Police Department to register child sex offenders at locations where the law does not permit them to reside."
After Jan. 15, Lewbel said, police will notify the state's attorney's office if any of the child sex offenders still resides at Wayside Cross. At that time, prosecution could begin, he said.
James Lukose, executive director of Wayside Cross, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.