Sex Offenders Suing County Sheriff's Department

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County residents can instantly learn all about registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods by logging on to the sheriff's department Web site, but the sex offenders are suing the department because they think the site is unconstitutional, Action News' Lynna Lai reported.

The sex offenders have said that the Web site is a violation of their privacy and that they are being forced to pay twice for their crimes.

"I think it's a continual punishment that just follows you for life," said registered sex offender "Bob" from North Royalton.

Bob spent eight months in prison for gross sexual imposition on his niece and a 9-year-old neighbor in her own home.

Since then, he's had to sell his house and said that he's near suicide.

"You punish them and it (should be) over," Bob said. "You pay your dues, and it's over. You want to get on with your life."

The mother of one of Bob's young victims, however, said that she has no sympathy for him.

"He should be punished over and over and over for the rest of his life," she said. "He did this to himself. Nobody told him to touch little kids."

The mother said that she hopes the Web site stays put, calling it valuable information -- information that she said came too late for her family.

"You need to know," she said. "Everybody needs to know.

"If I had known, then he would have never been near my home."

A federal judge heard arguments in the case on Wednesday and has ordered the sheriff's department to not add any more names to the Web site until she rules on its constitutionality.

If you'd like to check out the sheriff's department site, click on over to this Web site's "You Saw It On" section, go to the "S" page and click on the "Sex Offenders" link.