BOSTON - The other shoe has fallen, and the remaining civil claims in a Level 3 sex offender's suit against the Town of Ayer have been dismissed.
John King and his wife Ashley King sued the Town of Ayer in September, claiming Ayer Police Chief William Murray infringed upon their rights when Murray informed King on April 25 that a new Ayer bylaw would prevent King from moving into his wife's house on Whitcomb Avenue.
Judge William Young agreed with the Kings in part. In his Dec. 20 order, Young ordered that King be allowed to move into the house immediately, and that King had actually beat the effective date of the new Ayer bylaw by five days when he notified the police on April 19 of his intention of moving into his wife's home.
The Ayer bylaw, passed overwhelmingly at Ayer Fall Town Meeting in October. 2011, bans Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from moving into homes located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and elder housing complexes. The 6 Whitcomb Avenue home is located within 1,000 feet of both Pirone Park and the Pond Street senior housing complex.
In December, Young dismissed as moot the couple's claim that the Ayer bylaw is unconstitutional. Young's order promised a follow up decision on the couple's other claims against Murray and the town.
However, with a one sentence order issued on Jan. 4, the Court ordered "All remaining counts are hereby dismissed and the above entitled action be and hereby is Dismissed." The couple had claimed that Murray violated their federal and state constitutional rights of intrastate travel and free association. The couple also claimed a loss of consortium (marital relations) and sought municipal liability against Murray as the "final policy maker for the Town of Ayer with respect to its police department."
Legal counsel for the Ayer Board of Selectmen drafted a response on behalf of the board, which was released on Dec. 21, "We are pleased that the Town of Ayer's Sex Offender Residency Bylaw remains in place and will continue to provide protection to our most vulnerable citizens of Ayer."
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