The Jackson County Missouri Sheriff’s threat to arrest registered sex offenders at the City Union Mission has prompted a federal lawsuit, claiming the sheriff’s actions are unconstitutional. The sheriff says the sex offenders are breaking state law by “loitering” within 500 feet of a park.
The suit contends that the Missouri law does not adequately define the term “loiter” and is unconstitutionally vague.
“We want to get that cleared up,” said Jonathan Whitehead, attorney for the mission. “Seeking shelter, food or prayer is not loitering.”
The sheriff’s office is now saying that the law “applies to kitchens and shelters of the mission, even though those buildings are being used for religious ministry and not for ‘loitering,’ ” according to the suit.
“As a result, the sheriff’s office has threatened to arrest certain mission employees or guests on mission property,” according to the suit.
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