Pro Bono

HOA ban on sex offenders leads to lawsuit


A Texas homeowners association is facing a lawsuit that claims it improperly tried to oust a registered sex offender living there.

Theodore Whipple and his wife say in their lawsuit that he is a low-risk sex offender, convicted more than 20 years ago, KVUE reports. They claim a violation of the 14th Amendment’s right to due process, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the right to alienate property, according to a Courthouse News Service article published last November. Texas Lawyer’s Tex Parte Blog also published a story last year.

Whipple says the Valley View Village Condominium Homeowners Association in Austin informed him of a new rule last September that bars registered sex offenders from any condo property that is within 2,000 feet of any place where children congregate. The rule effectively bars him from the property, Whipple says.

Whipple got the notice on the day he was released from prison for failing to properly register his residence. He is represented on a pro bono basis by Akin Gump partner Fred Williams, and he remains in the condo while the lawsuit is pending.

According to the suit, state law no longer bars Whipple from coming within 500 feet of children because his parole has ended.“This is an effort by the homeowners association to take the law upon themselves and create their own little law for the neighborhood,” Williams told KVUE.

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