The Montville Town Council voted 4 to 2 Monday to approve a resolution that creates Senior Safety Zones in an effort to, keep senior citizens safe from sex offenders.
But it was not unanimous.
Town Councilor Rosetta Jones, a 22-year veteran of the state department of corrections where she served as a prison warden was opposed but not because she doesn’t want seniors to be safe, she said, but because the law is at once ineffectual and places the town in a precarious position and open to potential civil liberties lawsuits.
“The intent is one of good will,” she said, referring to the law as a “litigation magnet” which will trust the town into an “unnecessary legal quagmire.” Jones, who spent three years as the correction’s legislative liaison, encouraged the town to help seniors feel safe by providing self defense education and programming.
And Councilor Dana McFee, who also voted against the zone, has long been opposed because of his concern about possible lawsuits.
“If we end up being sued,” McFee said, directing his comments to councilors in favor of the ordinance, “You’ll be remembered for this, for doing this. That will be your legacy.” Challenges to the law are anticpated by the Connecticut affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.
But with support from Senior Center president Sandy Stauffer and State Sen. Edith Prague (D-19), the council – which had already approved the zones in October but the wrong version – was convinced.
And Prague even went so far as to state she believes sex offenders should not be permitted to live in senior housing.
Councilor Gary Murphy was absent due to illness, Town Council President Candy Buebendorf said.