BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. — A group of registered sex offenders in Georgia are suing the sheriff's office after they say they were required to post "no trick-or-treat" signs on their doors ahead of Halloween in 2018.
The signs from the sheriff's office say "Warning! No trick-or-treat at this address!! A community safety message from Butts County Sheriff Gary Long."
The lawsuit, filed Sept. 24 in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia, claims the state's sex offender registry process does not require them to post such signs. The group also argues deputies trespassed on their property to place the signs and that they were told they would be arrested if they moved the signs.
Attorneys Mark Yuracheck and Mark Begnaud say more than 200 registered sex offenders in the county faced the same requirements for signs. They argue the signs caused the three registered sex offenders "anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation," according to the lawsuit.
Sheriff Long released a statement about the lawsuit on Monday through Facebook. Long said because of a canceled Halloween event in town, neighborhoods saw an increase in kids trick-or-treating door-to-door.
"My office took precautions and placed signs indicating 'No Trick or Treat' at east registered sex offender's residence in the County," Long said. "This was done to ensure the safety of our children."
Long also said the plaintiffs asked a judge to stop the sheriff's office from placing the same signs this year. The sheriff says his office plans to argue before the court that "we are protecting our children and following Georgia law by placing these signs."
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