(CN) – A former government contractor convicted of having sex with young boys while stationed in Bangladesh may get to reside near schools, parks and playgrounds in the United States when he gets out of prison, after the 9th Circuit removed court-imposed residency restrictions on the offender.
William Newton Rudd, a former contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Bangladesh, pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.
The Bangladesh National Police arrested Rudd in 2004 after the investigation of tip showed he had “engaged in sexual conduct with four primary school-age boys between 2002 and 2004,” according to the ruling.
U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler in Santa Ana, Calif., sentenced Rudd to 6 1/2 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release. As is common in sex-offender cases, the sentence came with several special conditions, including a residency restriction barring Rudd from living “within 2,000 feet of school yards, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds, youth centers, video arcade facilities, or other places primarily used by persons under the age of 18.”
The federal appeals court in Pasadena vacated that restriction on Wednesday based on a “procedural error.”
Stotler should have explained why she imposed the 2,000-foot restriction suggested by a probation officer rather than a lesser restriction worked out as part of Rudd’s plea agreement, the court ruled.
“The nature and circumstances of Rudd’s offenses demonstrate that Rudd poses a serious danger to children,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the three-judge panel. “It is evident that a condition minimizing his temptation and ability to prey upon children is supported by the record. What is not evident from the record is why forbidding residence within direct view of places primarily used by persons under the age of 18 is insufficient to deter Rudd from further contact with minors, or how the 2,000 foot requirement suggested by the probation office and adopted by the court would further reduce the risk of such conduct upon Rudd’s release from prison at or near age seventy-three. Because the reasons for imposing the condition are not apparent from the record, the District Court was required to state them at sentencing.”
Wardlaw advised the trial court to reconsider “whether the 2,000-foot residency restriction imposes any deprivation of liberty greater than what is necessary for the purposes of Rudd’s supervised release.”
Citing a wave of recent research on the subject, the court also suggested that such residency restrictions may do more harm than good in some cases.
“There remain significant questions regarding the substantive reasonableness of residency restrictions, including whether they too stringently restrict where a defendant can reside, or whether they play a role in increasing the likelihood of recidivism,” Wardlaw wrote.