N.H. high court: Sex offender can’t attend church

Monday, September 20, 2010

CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Supreme Court has denied a sex offender’s request that he be allowed to attend church with a chaperone.

Jonathan Perfetto of Manchester was convicted of possessing child pornography and released from prison in 2008. Though a court ordered him to have no contact with children, he had asked to attend Jehovah’s Witnesses services chaperoned by a church elder.

The state Supreme Court on Sept. 17 upheld a lower court ruling denying that request. It said the condition did not violate Perfetto’s constitutional rights to religious freedom and that Perfetto could practice his religion in other ways, including by using books and audio or video recordings.

“He may also arrange bible study with elders from his congregation and attend meetings at a congregation where minors are not present,” the high court said. “While the defendant may prefer to attend the congregation of his choosing, as a result of his suspended sentences, he ‘properly [is] subject to limitations from which ordinary persons are free.’ ”

Perfetto also served time when he was 17 for molesting a young male relative and again when he was older for assaulting adult women.

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