Cook County Record

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

'Park' or 'playground?' Sex offender challenges interpretation of law limiting how close can live to public park


By Karen Kidd | Jul 24, 2019

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CHICAGO — A registered sex offender who wants to move into his parents' home in Elk Grove Village has filed suit against the village, challenging the village's interpretation of the law restricting how close registered sex offenders can live to a "playground."

In his lawsuit filed July 17 in Cook County Circuit Court, Bruce Hoffmann asked a judge to declare the distance between his parents' home and a playground in nearby Roosevelt Park is within legal limits under state law. Specifically, Hoffmann has asked that the court declare his parents' home is not within 500 feet of a playground, as defined under state law.

Hoffmann is required under Illinois law to register as a sex offender until April 2020 following his conviction in 2010.

Adele Nicholas

The state law prohibits Hoffmann from living "within 500 feet of a playground, child care institution, day care center, part-day child care facility, day care home, group day care home, or a facility providing programs or services exclusively directed toward persons under 18 years of age."

In June, Hoffmann tried to register his parents' home as his address, but was told by Elk Grove Village police that the home's location would not comply with the state law because it's within 500 feet of Roosevelt Park, according to the lawsuit.  

Hoffmann has challenged that determination.

"Contrary to Elk Grove Village officials' determination, there is no statute that prohibits Mr. Hoffmann from living within 500 feet of a 'park'," the lawsuit said. "The statute on which these officials rely prohibits Mr. Hoffmann from residing within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds and day care facilities."

The lawsuit acknowledges that Roosevelt Park includes a playground but that small portion of the park is more than 800 feet from the road where Hoffmann's parents' home is located, according to the lawsuit.

"The fact that there is playground equipment in the northwest part of Roosevelt Park does not mean that the entirety of Roosevelt Park constitutes a 'playground' under Illinois law," the lawsuit said.

If Hoffmann isn't allowed to register his parents' home as his address, "Hoffmann will become homeless," the lawsuit said.

"Mr. Hoffmann is currently living in Itasca ... in a house his parents previously resided in," the lawsuit said. "That property is for sale and currently is being shown to prospective buyers. Mr. Hoffmann will have to vacate the premises when the house is sold, which could happen imminently."

The lawsuit was filed on Hoffmann's behalf by Chicago civil rights attorneys Adele D. Nicholas and Mark G. Weinberg.

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Organizations in this Story

Circuit Court of Cook CountyVillage of Elk Grove Village