Suit filed to block LC sex offender registration fee

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) - A Lake Charles sex offender has filed suit in State District Court against the Mayor and City Council over that controversial new sex offender registration fee.  The ordinance would require a $600 registration fee up front and then an annually fee of $200.

As well, sex offenders would have to provide authorities with additional details of their past history.

The suit raises six key issues including whether the ordinance violates the constitutional rights of sex offenders by inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and depriving them of equal protection under the law.  The suit also raises the question of whether the city council went beyond its authority in enacting an ordinance tougher than the requirements of state law.

Clinton Fruge was convicted of attempted forcible rape when he was sixteen. He says he does not object to registering as a sex offender but believes Lake Charles new ordinance goes too far. "City council has abused their authority. They are trying to take steps that only our legislature can take . Secondly, they don't have the authority to add to people's sentences."

Fruge is now married and the step father of a six year old boy. He and his wife Amy say a six hundred dollar registration fee would hurt their family. "They were raised from $60 to $600. That is a $540 jump. For me and my wife that's an electric bill, a water bill and a gas bill all together probably."  His wife Amy agrees.  "Not only would we have to move. We would also have to take out $600 out of our pockets that feeds my little boy. $600 that could very well buy me a new vehicle to get my little boy around."

In the lawsuit filed, Fruge says the new requirements amount to dishing out more punishment on those who have already served their time-- so he says it's unconstitutional. "We're human beings and we have the right, just like everybody else, to live where we choose to live."  Said  Amy, "They don't want my husband to live in this town. Why? He's a human being. Clinton: My residence was approved by the parole office. Since the passing of this ordinance, my residence is going to be within the additional 200 feet added."

Fruge's suit is against the mayor and city council. The effective date of the new ordinance is in July by which time sex offenders are to be in compliance.

The city has not yet been served with the suit, but Mayor Randy Roach says it will be referred to the city's legal department for whatever action they think is appropriate.

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