Neighborhood upset over sex offender decorating home for Halloween

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Update: The man who was letting Jesse Griffin live with him in this Caseyville home has told the registered sex offender to leave. Steve Lykins says he didn’t want trouble with his neighbors or his reputation. He says Griffin has already left. He plans to leave his Halloween decorations where they are.

CASEYVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Residents of a Caseyville neighborhood a furious that a home occupied by a registered sex offender is decked out with Halloween decorations.  They believe it should be illegal, but officials say the law isn’t that clear.

Illinois law clearly forbids registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween night, but decorating is not specifically mentioned.

The house on Twin Drive has witches, spider webs, pumpkins and a cauldron.  A smoke machine is even part of the display.  When it turned up, one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, quickly became worried.

“I’m really nervous about the kids in the neighborhood,” she said.

She’s concerned about the presence of Jessie Griffin.  Griffin, now 55, was convicted of forcible sexual assault on a 12 year old.  It happened seventeen years ago.  Now he’s living in a home seemingly geared up for a kid friendly holiday.

“When I saw that, like I said, it was terrifying because there are plenty of children in the neighborhood and they don’t pay attention to those things,” the unidentified neighbor said.

A grandmother living directly across the street wants police involved.

“I think that draws kids in and I don’t think they should be allowed to put things like that up if they’re sex offenders,” Jean Everson told us.

But police say it’s not a black and white case.  They have been in contact with the St. Clair County State’s Attorney about the issue, but say they need to talk to the two men living in the house before they can make a solid determination about what is or is not legal.

Acting Caseyville Police Chief Frank Moore said, “At this point we feel like we’ve got enough concern that we’re gonna investigate a little bit further and we’ll go from there.”

Griffin does not live alone.  Steve Lykins is his roommate.  Lykins says he took griffin in a couple of months ago in an effort to help a guy down on his luck.  Lykins tells us the decorations belong to him, and he’s been doing this sort of thing since long before Griffin lived with him.  As for the neighbors’ concerns, he says he can understand.

“I can see their thing, but Jessie isn’t bothering nobody.  Something that happened in the past 17 years ago and he ain’t never been in trouble about it anymore.  Every man needs a break once in a while.”

But across the street, Everson passionately disagrees.

“I don’t believe that anybody that harms a child should be given a break or a second chance.  Those are babies who can’t defend themselves.”

Police say after they question the residents of the house, they will go back to the States’ Attorney and try to determine if the decorations have to come down.

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