The Pryor Times

Crimes and courts

February 18, 2014

Convicted sex offender sues to stay in his home

PRYOR, OK — A convicted sex offender has sued the district attorney and city of Pryor over housing dispute.

Gary Hunt bought a home near Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor before the sex offender law was passed which would prevent him from living within 2,000 feet of the school.

He was convicted of a child sexual offense in 2008. When he was released from prison in 2013, law enforcement told him he could not live in his house because of it’s proximity to a school.

Hunt’s position is he owned the home before the sex offender law took effect and he believes he should be able to live in the home.

Hunt, represented by attorney Gerald Lee, filed a petition for a declaratory judgment Feb. 7 listing the defendants as District Attorney Janice Steidley, the City of Pryor Creek and Pryor Police Department.

The petition states that Hunt, the plaintiff, “acquired his home at 2773 Oakwood Drive, Pryor, on Nov. 8, 2000,” and lived there until Jan. 14, 2009.

According to Lee's request, on Aug. 8, 2008, the plaintiff pleaded guilty to possessing “material involving the sexual exploitation of minors/possessing a visual depiction.”

Hunt was released from prison Aug. 10, 2013, according to the judgment.

“After Plaintiff's release from custody of the City of Pryor, by and through the Pryor Police Department, told the Plaintiff in August 2013 that his home is within 2,000 feet of Jefferson Elementary School and that he could not reside in his home pursuant to Title 57 O.S. Section 590A.”

The title in question states it is “unlawful for any person registered pursuant to the Sex Offenders Registration Act to reside within 2,000 feet of any public or private school,” and that “it is a penal statute by reason of the statute states any person who violates the residency restriction is subject to imprisonment and fine,” all according to the request. The title became effective in November 2003.

Hunt then wrote the district attorney's office, requesting the district attorney agree that Hunt could reside in his home.

“The District Attorney's Office has not offered any written response to the Defendant's Attorney's letter. The only response from the District Attorney's Office was a verbal response from the Assistant District Attorney stating that the plaintiff could not reside in his home in reliance on opinion of the Oklahoma Attorney General,” Lee's petition states.

Further , it states that no state shall pass an ex post facto law. That means a law written “after the fact” will not apply.

“The Plaintiff is unable to obtain or purchase another residence due to the fact that Plaintiff is 71 years old, has health problems, he is permanently, physically disabled, and his only income is his state retirement and social security benefits,” the petition states.

Online court records  describe this case as a civil case in which relief sought exceeds $10,000, though no monetary amounts were listed in the official request.

In a declaratory judgment, a judge will decide how the law relates to this case. Lee believes the declaratory judgment will be Hunt should be allowed to stay in his home.

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Crimes and courts