York, Chester, Lancaster sex offenders under SC probation have Halloween curfew

Convicted sex offenders in York, Chester and Lancaster counties under supervision by South Carolina’s probation department will again have a curfew and other restrictions on Halloween, state and local officials said.

Probation officials said parents should not be alarmed, and that children trick or treating with proper supervision is fine.

The curfew affects about 700 offenders statewide, with 34 area offenders. It affects 24 offenders in York County, six in Chester County and four in Lancaster County, statistics from the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services show.

Statewide there will be a curfew from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 31 for sex offenders under any type of state-supervised release, said Pete O’Boyle, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services. The state curfew for sex offenders under probation supervision has been in effect on Halloween since 2005.

Offenders under supervision by the state have been notified that they cannot have lights on outside their houses, cannot distribute candy and cannot participate in Halloween parties or carnivals, O’Boyle said. Offenders under probation have been told they must stay in their homes and can’t go into the street, O’Boyle said.

Some counties, including York County, require all sex offenders under supervised release to go to a central location during the curfew period, O’Boyle said.

York County has those people attend a program at the Moss Justice Center during the curfew period that is administered and run by probation officials, said Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Those on South Carolina’s sex offender registry who are not under any supervision, and who have completed all court-ordered requirements, are not included in the curfew, said O’Boyle and Faris.

South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) keeps an updated, public Web site of all registered sex offenders. Those offenders are required by law to register a legal address with their home county sheriff’s office, Faris said. Deputies in York County do random checks on offenders throughout the year and on Halloween, Faris said.

The Chester County Sheriff’s Office also checks on registered sex offenders, including on Halloween, said Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s office has a unit that does sex offender registry address checks, and has additional officers working Halloween, said spokesman Doug Barfield.