Lawsuit settlement says no cap on sex offenders at Cranston shelter
CRANSTON, R.I. -- The settlement Wednesday of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, means there will be no cap on the number of sex offenders allowed to live at the Harrington Hall homeless shelter.
This all stems from a state law that was set to take effect a year ago, limiting the number of sex offenders at Harrington hall to 10% of the shelter's population, or 11 people. But then the ACLU filed a lawsuit saying that was unconstitutional.
The ACLU argued that Harrington Hall is a "shelter of last resort" for homeless sex offenders, and that in many cases the only other choice for these men is to sleep on the streets. The lawsuit also contended there was no increase in re-offenses tied to the number of convicted predators living at the Howard Avenue shelter.
"It means that as long as Harrington Hall makes sure that there's no other place for these individuals to go, they're allowed to stay at the shelter. Nobody is well-served by having these individuals just out on the streets, and particularly during winter months. So we think the settlement is favorable to everybody," said Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown
But a lot of folks in Cranston don't feel that way. Many of them have been fighting against the growing sex offender population at Harrington Hall for several months now.
The number of sexual predators living at the shelter hovers around 30, we're told. Neighbors say that's way too many, especially given the proximity to residential neighborhoods.
Dozens of residents attended a public forum in May, voicing their outrage with Cranston's growing sex offender population.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018