INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, is taking another shot at keeping individuals designated as "serious" sex offenders off school property as much as legally possible.
In October, Mrvan's 2015 law barring Hoosiers convicted of sexual misconduct with minors from ever entering a school was partially struck down by the Indiana Court of Appeals after the Boone County sheriff attempted to use it to also keep serious sex offenders out of churches.
The appellate court concluded that a church is not a school, even those congregations that meet in school buildings, and sex offenders have a First Amendment right to exercise their religious beliefs.
In response, Mrvan filed Senate Bill 295. It authorizes serious sex offenders to enter a school only for worship services or religious instruction, and only when students are not in the building attending classes or participating in extracurricular or other activities.
The measure says a sex offender cannot arrive at a school more than 30 minutes before a religious service begins, and must depart no later than 30 minutes after it concludes.
"I find sex offenses towards children to be the worst kind of crimes," Mrvan said. "SB 295 prevents the offenders from attending a school other than for religious services when children are present.
"As a legislator, the most important thing we must do at the Statehouse is protect our children."
His proposal passed the Senate, 36-12. It now goes to the House.