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Le Center could restrict where sex offenders live

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School children play outside a Le Center grade school on Wednesday. A proposed city ordinance would prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places where children gather, including schools, parks and libraries.
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LE CENTER — A small southern Minnesota city is considering barring some sex offenders from living near places where children gather.

A proposed ordinance in Le Center would prevent Level 3 sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places such as schools, libraries and day care centers.

The proposal came after a December public hearing to notify residents that a Level 3 offender, Robert Jeno, was moving to a group home in Le Center. The home is about 1,800 feet from a school, but the ordinance wouldn't be retroactive. He's the city's only offender at Level 3, which is assigned to those most at risk to reoffend.

Jeno spent more than 20 years in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and was discharged after a state Supreme Court panel ordered his release late last year. Offenders in the treatment program in Moose Lake and St. Peter have finished prison sentences and been ordered by courts to stay in the program indefinitely.

Only two people have been provisionally discharged from the program, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services website. Jeno's restrictions include GPS monitoring and alarms on his windows.

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Other cities in Minnesota have passed residency restrictions for sex offenders, including nearby Elysian this month.

A 2008 study by the state corrections department said social relationships play a bigger role in recidivism among sex offenders than where they live, according to the Free Press.

A public hearing for the proposed Le Center ordinance is set for Feb. 10.

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