COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In just under a week, residents will be hearing a knock at their door and voices yelling out “trick or treat.”
It’s a fun tradition for some, but for others, answering that door could land them in big trouble.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said Ohio law does not stop sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween. However, that doesn’t go for all offenders; it comes down to the county level and whether or not someone is on parole.
If a registered sex offender is on parole, then officers will work with them on what the rules for their parole are; many times, that includes not taking part in any aspect of Halloween.
“What will happen is law enforcement will generally work with our detectives who are out in the field, our supervisor is on duty, and we’ll work directly with the adult parole authority to determine whether or not that person is allowed to pass out candy,” Maj. Steven Tucker with Investigations for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said.
For those offenders not on parole but still registered, there is no prohibition in the Ohio law that says that sex offenders can’t hand out candy.
There are more than 1,800 registered sex offenders in Franklin County. For those under the watch of the Adult Parole Authority, there are strict rules this year.
“We’ve had a really, really high success rate because of the cooperative effort that exists between law enforcement and the APA,” Tucker said.
For sex offenders on parole, those rules include:
- cannot display any Halloween decorations that may attract minors
- cannot put out candy
- must keep porch and garage lights off during trick-or-treating hours
- if a minor knocks on the door, it cannot be opened
- cannot attend any minor specific Halloween festivities unless it is approved by the APA.
“We were aware of the fact that there’s always going to be trepidation when it comes to sex offenders,” Tucker said. “We know that and we respect that as well, so we’re going to have detectives out there to make sure that the sex offenders are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and if they’re supposed to be staying away from children, we’re going to make sure that that’s happening.”
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has resources available on its website and plans to have extra patrols out to help with questions. Residents with any questions can also call 614-525-5272 for more information.
“That’s a direct line into our sexual offender registry network, and they’ll be able to answer questions all the way up until 8 p.m. on trick or treat night,” Tucker said.