New GA sex offender law - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New GA sex offender law

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

June 25, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia's new sex offender law could kick offenders out of church activities, and critics say that violates their freedom of religion.

This year the General Assembly reworked a tough sex offender law, after part of it was thrown out in court.

The law governs where all registered sex offenders can live and work.

One new portion also prohibits all offenders, not just those that may pose a danger to children, from doing any kind of volunteer work at any church.

"When you draft a statute that tries to have a one size fits all kind of thing, rather than having a judge craft conditions of probation on a case by case basis you end up with unintended consequences. Even when they're off probation they can't do the things you may want them to do to help the rehabilitation," said James N. Finkelstein, Attorney.

This week,  five sex offenders filed a lawsuit.

They claim the law criminalizes fundamental religious activities for sex offenders, and bars them from doing something as harmless as singing in a church choir.

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