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Ga. sex offender law called too strict

ATLANTA, GA, United States (UPI) -- Critics of a new Georgia law say it is too stringent on registered sex offenders who pose little threat to the general public.

The law requires the state`s approximately 10,000 sex offenders -- including the old and feeble -- to live at least 1,000 feet away from schools, playgrounds, churches and school bus stops, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

'My intent personally is to make it so onerous on those that are convicted of these offenses ... they will want to move to another state,' said the bill`s sponsor, House Majority leader Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons Island.

Critics of the measure maintain the law is unfair to offenders who committed less grievous sexual crimes, such as having underage consensual sex while in high school, and rehabilitated offenders who have served their sentences.

'We should be concerned when we pass laws for political purposes that are irrational,' said Sarah Geraghty, a staff lawyer for the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights, which has filed court challenges against the law`s provisions. 'This law will essentially render thousands of ex-offenders homeless, and that`s just going to make them harder to monitor.'

Critics have also warned that the law could force elderly patients convicted of sex offenses to leave hospices.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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