AURORA, IL — More than a dozen sex offenders who lived at Wayside Cross Ministries in Aurora recently dropped their lawsuit against the city after they all found new housing, according to a report by the Daily Herald.
Nineteen residents of the ministry sued Aurora officials in July 2019 after police warned they lived within in 500 feet of a playground, violating the state’s residential restrictions on convicted sex offenders.
The men argued they had lived at the halfway house at 215 E. New York St. without issue until the city declared McCarty Park to be a playground and not a park.
The city installed two rocking horses last year on the east side of McCarty Park — more than 700 feet from Wayside Cross Ministries — then claimed those horses meant the park was a playground by statute, the lawsuit stated. There are no laws prohibiting sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a park, the suit argued.
The lawsuit claimed the Wayside residents would “be deprived of the stability, services and supportive religious community that are essential to their growth and progress towards leading law abiding, productive lives.”
Kane County Circuit Judge Kevin Busch dismissed the lawsuit Friday after all sex offenders who lived at Wayside Cross Ministries moved out. Wayside Executive Director James Lukose told the Daily Herald that most of the men had secured new housing and work in the suburbs.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday in a statement that the lawsuit became “moot” after the men left Wayside. McMahon credited the ministry for working to find new housing for its former residents that was in compliance with Illinois’ sex offender laws.
Meanwhile, Lukose and Adele Nicholas, who represented the Wayside residents in the lawsuit, applauded McMahon’s office for giving the men additional time to find housing instead of pressing charges, the Daily Herald reports.
“We are pleased by the dismissal of this lawsuit brought by residents of Wayside Cross Ministries,” McMahon said. “By working collaboratively the residents were able to find new housing without prolonged or expensive litigation.”