Lawsuit: Homeless sex offenders need a break
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter December 7, 2012 4:32PM
Douglas Montgomery is a lawsuit plaintiff. Attorneys for Chicago sex offenders who claim they’re too poor to register have filed a separate case on behalf of homeless sex offenders who say they can’t register because they don’t have permanent addresses. | Provided photo
Updated: January 9, 2013 6:08AM
Attorneys for sex offenders who claim they’re too poor to register have filed a separate case against the city of Chicago on behalf of homeless sex offenders who say they can’t register because they don’t have permanent addresses.
Douglas M. Montgomery, a plaintiff in the new case filed Thursday, says in the lawsuit he’s been in the Cook County Jail since July 2011 when he was arrested for urinating in public. He’s awaiting trial on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.
Montgomery, 57, said he was living under a bridge in January 2011 and police refused to let him register without an address. He says he was unable to find a homeless shelter to take him. He’s being held in lieu of $150,000 bail, court records show.
Montgomery and another homeless man, Michael Beley, say the Chicago Police Department regularly refuses to allow homeless sex offenders to register unless they have a state identification card listing a shelter as an address. They want the city to adopt procedures to register homeless sex offenders and they’re seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Beley, 53, said the police refused to let him use his son’s address because it was too close to a park. He said he tried to find a shelter, but none would accept a registered sex offender. He claims police refused to let him register several times last month and he’s now classified as “non-compliant” and subject to arrest.
Beley was 28 at the time of his child sex offense, and his victim was under 18. Montgomery was 56 at the time of his adult sex offense and his victim was 33, according to the Illinois State Police registry.
A review of Chicago Police Department registration logs for 2011 and 2012 showed “few, if any” homeless people were allowed to register, the lawsuit said. State law allows homeless people to report weekly to the sheriff’s office or the police department to register, according to the lawsuit.
Last month, another group of sex offenders filed a lawsuit in federal court saying the city should waive a $100 registration fee because they’re too poor to pay. U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee refused to allow those plaintiffs to amend their lawsuit to include the homeless plaintiffs, which is why the homeless men filed a separate case.