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Cahokia Heights reduces distance sex offenders can live near school

Illinois state law states 500 feet is the minimum amount a sex offender can live from a school.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:44 PM CDT
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CAHOKIA HEIGHTS (KMOV) - The City of Cahokia Heights voted in May to reduce the distance a registered sex offender can live from a school from 1,500 feet to 500 feet.

Minutes from the May council meeting show all but one member voted in favor of the change. Illinois state law states the minimum distance a sex offender can live from a school is 500 feet. The law is the same in Missouri.

News 4 contacted Cahokia Heights mayor Curtis McCall Sr. for comment. A lawyer for the city responded instead with the following statement:

“It is my understanding that there was concern among City leaders that sex offenders would try to interpose a defense that the previous City ordinance was overbroad thereby causing it to be more difficult to enforce. Accordingly, they thought it best to track the State ordinance. The ordinance that you have attached is accurate.”

“I don’t know any family, mother or father that would want their kid that close to sex offenders,” former Cahokia trustee Jerry Nichols said. “I remember back when I was in office--sex offenders--it was right around 1,500 feet from a school. Might as well live right next door to the school.”

News 4 contacted several parents in the city. Some agreed to talk to News 4 on terms of anonymity out of fear of retaliation from city leaders.

“Pretty ridiculous if you ask me, because you know we’re parents and we’re supposed to protect our kids, and if they’re allowed to come closer than what they should--how do we know what their plans are intentions are with our children,” one school parent said.

“It’s concerning and it’s appalling,” another parent said. “They didn’t even run it by the residents to see if we were OK with this how we felt, and that’s always how it happens in Cahokia to begin with.”

News 4 obtained council documents from a resident who filed a Freedom of Information request. The last time the city posted an agenda online for a council meeting was in March of 2021. The last time Cahokia Heights posted minutes from a council meeting was in February of 2021.

“Yeah, it’s a problem because they got somebody to do it. They’re there,” Nichols said. “They don’t want you to have information.”