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Sex offenders suing Georgia sheriff after 'no trick-or-treat' signs placed in their yard

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Posted at 8:12 AM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 08:27:27-04

(WXIA/NBC) - A Georgia sheriff is being sued by registered sex offenders for planning to place "no trick-or-treat" signs on their lawns during Halloween.

Last year Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said he put the signs up to keep children safe.

This year several sex offenders have filed a class-action lawsuit against Long and his staff.

RELATED: Sex offenders in Florida: Interactive map allows you to search your neighborhood

Attorneys representing the offenders say their clients are complying with all of the requirements of the sex offender registry -- including having their names, photos and addresses online.

They claim forcing the registrants to also display the yard signs is going too far.

In the lawsuit, the offenders question whether Long "exceeded his authority" by putting up the signs.

They are seeking a jury trial and damages.

In an interview last year, the sheriff said his only concern was making children safer.

"There's some sex offenders that's not happy, But I'm not really in the business of making them happy, I'm in the business of keeping safe communities and making sure our children are protected," said Long.

"State law does require him to notify the public in very specific ways and none of those ways includes placing signs on registrants' lawns," said attorney Mark Yurachek. "It's easy to pick on these guys, because nobody really wants to see anything done for a sex offender. The sheriff's going to say the next time, when it's, you know, the DUI registry, and he wants to identify people who drink and drive, that that's OK, as well."

Courtesy WXIA via NBC News Channel