Sex Offender Challenging School Restrictions


UPDATED: Friday April 5, 2013 11:18 PM

Estill Smith can look out his back window and see an Amish school, which sits just off Township Road 80 in Morrow County.

But authorities say that's a problem, because Smith is a registered sex offender.

In 2007, he was convicted of sexual conduct with a minor.

He's a sex offender who authorities say lives well within 1,000 feet of the school.

Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland wants Smith to move out.

But it's not that easy.

"The main issue is classifying whether or not the Amish school meets the definition of a school," Howland said.

Pictures show the inside of the building, and it looks like a typical classroom.

But Smith's attorney argues that the law keeping sex offenders away from schools doesn't apply here, since Amish schools aren't governed by the state.

Howland sees it differently.

"I don't see any difference between 29 Amish school children and 29 children in a public school, or a Catholic school," Howland said.

A woman at Smith's home told 10TV to leave the property when asked for comment.  A message left at his attorney's office was not returned.

A member of the Amish community said he had no comment about the issue.

Both sides have made their cases in Morrow County Common Pleas Court, and there's no timetable on when the judge will rule.

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