Judge OKs removal of sex offenders from halfway house in Aurora

A northern Illinois judge ruled Friday the city of Aurora can force the removal of registered sex offenders from a halfway house that is less than 500 feet from a park and playground.

Kane County Judge Kevin Busch denied a temporary restraining order that would have barred the eviction of 18 sex offenders from the Wayside Cross Ministries halfway house. Under Illinois law, registered sex offenders can’t live less than 500 feet from a park or playground. Aurora’s McCarty Park and its splash pad is within that distance. In his ruling, Busch said the government has a compelling interest to ensure child safety.

"Plaintiff’s are subject to residency laws that lawfully curb their ability to live in a particular location,’’ Busch wrote. "That is because they have lost a certain amount of liberty having committed serious criminal acts against children.”

Mark Weinberg, an attorney representing the sex offenders, told the Daily Herald lawyers were prepared to appeal the judge's decision.

Aurora last year notified Wayside leaders their halfway house was too close to McCarty Park. A federal lawsuit was filed against the city, but judges said the issue should first be addressed at the circuit court level.