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Registered sex offenders attend ‘Operation Halloween’ program

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INDIANAPOLIS — More than 300 sex offenders living in Marion County were under court order to be at a top secret location, while trick or treating was going on around Indianapolis.

One by one, they walked in to a location in the city that we were told to keep secret.

“For the sake of the public, so that people can have peace of mind for a few hours a day, it’s a small price for us to do to give other people some peace,” said one of the offenders who attended. He just asked us to keep his identity a secret.

The three-hour program is called “Operation Halloween,” now in its tenth year. Whether on probation, parole or both, a registered sex offender is mandated by law to attend.

“Those that have no contact order with minor children. That are restricted from being around any part of the child activities,” said Christine Kerl, Chief Probation Officer with the Marion Superior Court Probation Department.

Kerl engineered this program. She says it teaches offenders about re-entry efforts, employment possibilities and information regarding registration requirements.

“Also, it provides them a safe place so that they can avoid any potential risks to themselves or others,” said Kerl.

“Everybody makes mistakes, but when you learn and you understand material in a way people talk to you and the way you go to these classes, if you open your mind, you can see your mistakes,” said one of the offenders.

Some sex offenders didn’t have to attend, either because they are no longer being supervised or had prearranged appointments.