KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed against a county sheriff’s office in Missouri alleges that an initiative to arrest sex offenders near a charity violates the organization’s constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom.
The suit filed by the City Union Mission focuses on how the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office interprets a Missouri law. The law mentioned in the suit prohibits some offenders from “loitering” within 500 feet of a public park that contains a pool or playground equipment.
The suit argues that the law doesn’t sufficiently define the term “loiter” and is too vague.
According to the suit, the sheriff’s office now says that the law applies to the charity’s kitchens and shelters even though those buildings are being used for religious ministry.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp says his office is merely following the law.