(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) — Five California sex offenders and their families are suing the city of Simi Valley, Calif., claiming that Halloween restrictions placed on them through a new law violate their right to free speech.
The group filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Friday against Simi Valley, a city 37 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Under the ordinance, Simi Valley’s 119 registered sex offenders are banned from displaying Halloween decorations at their homes. They are required on Oct. 31 to turn off all exterior lighting and post a sign on their doors that reads in at least one-inch-tall letters: “No candy or treats at this residence.”
“People are thinking this is because registrants want to pass out candy to children. That is not the case for me,” a 46-year-old registered sex offender and father of two told ABC News.
He is one of the anonymous plaintiffs suing the city to have the law struck down, and asked that his name not be used.
“This ordinance affects the residents,” he said. “It is being enforced on my wife and my children. My kids can not even carve a pumpkin and put it on the front porch.”
Janice Bellucci, an attorney representing the plaintiffs and head of California Reform Our Sex Offender Laws, an advocacy group that fights for the civil rights of registered sex offenders, said the sign requirement was particularly troubling.
“I’m concerned someone may try to harm them or their family members or their home,” she said. “The advice I’ve given them is to go somewhere else on Halloween night.”
David Caceras, assistant Simi Valley city attorney, said his office had not yet been served with the lawsuit and would be unable to comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire