Sex offenders across Missouri are ordered to stay inside; leave porch light off
OREGON COUNTY -- Although there is no law on the books related to registered sex offenders and Halloween night in Missouri, Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward said approximately 1,800 sex offenders in the state on parole or probation were ordered by the Missouri Department of Corrections not to participate in Halloween this year.
"This meant they were ordered to stay inside their homes, workplaces or in some cases, at an approved therapy session last Wednesday night," the sheriff said.
Ward said they could not keep their porch lights on and could not open their doors to trick-or-treaters.
Ward said he thinks this is a great idea. "Anytime a child can be protected from abuse or even potential abuse I think it's good," he said.
According to Missouri Department of Corrections spokesperson Brian Hauswirth, the policy is aimed at keeping kids safe on Halloween. "Sex offenders being monitored under a supervised agreement with the state must follow this directive or could face the legal consequences," he said
Ward said there are 25 registered sex offenders in the county. He said he has no way of knowing if in that number any of them are on probation or parole.
Richard Chronister with the District 13 Probation and Parole office was called to see how many, if any, of the registered sex offenders in Oregon County were on probation or parole.
"There are three registered sex offenders in Oregon County that are currently on probation. They are, Korey Whitelock, Jimmy Gatewood and Scott Reef," Chronister said.
He said there was one registered sex offender in the county that is on parole, Joseph Hutton.
Chronister said District 13 covers seven counties in southern Missouri including Oregon County.
Hauswirth said this is the first year this program has been mandated statewide.
He said some of the districts in the state actually had their registered sex offenders, who were on probation or parole, come in and spend the evening at a designated location.
"He said in District 13 all four people were instructed what they were supposed to do on Halloween night at their group session the Monday evening before Halloween, and they all signed written statements saying they would comply with the mandate.
"In the entire state we had one fellow in Jefferson City that said he forgot and left his porch light on. We called him, he turned his porch light off and no citation was issued," Hauswirth said.
He said across the state there are 8,000 registered sex offenders.