Buckeye community considers banning sex offenders

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Buckeye community is looking at a possible ban on registered sex offenders.

The situation in Verrado came to a head after social media outrage and a community meeting with police regarding a level three sex offender now living with his parents.

The Verrado HOA is “reviewing the matter,” according to someone who answered the phone Tuesday.

In an email response from Verrado, communications director Jennifer Barefoot said, “As this is a police matter, Buckeye PD have taken the lead in communicating with residents. Our Board of Directors is cooperating with the police and will continue to follow the direction of Buckeye PD on this matter.”

If Verrado moves to amend its CC&Rs and gathers enough votes to approve the amendment, it would not be the first Valley community to do so.

“It’s like any other violation if someone paints their house purple,” says HOA attorney, Curtis Ekmark.

Ekmark helped the Goodyear community Palm Valley ban sex offenders back in December.

“Since then we've really only had one issue,” says Ekmark. “There was one particular person in the community who was a level two sex offender, and that person's mom actually came to the association and said he shouldn’t be level two, he should be level one.”

Ekmark says the sex offender managed to have his classification downgraded. As a level one sex offender, he was permitted to remain in Palm Valley.

The ban drew a lot of attention, but Ekmark says he hasn’t heard much interest from other HOAs.

“It's pretty hard to get 80 percent of the homeowners to agree on anything frankly,” says Ekmark. “I think a lot of associations are hesitant to amend the CC&Rs for a variety of reasons.”

Many Verrado parents say they would vote yes if the sex offender ban came to a vote.

“Anywhere you live you can't guarantee safety,” says Amber Hulbert “But we really do feel safer here and we just want to keep that feeling going, and I don’t let my kids out of my sight anyway but it's just one more level of fear.”

One neighbor who didn’t want to speak on camera says he feels conflicted because not all sex offenders are the same risk, and he feels the court system doesn’t always get it right.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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