Sex offender wants permission to attend church

A New Hampshire sex offender on probation is asking the state’s highest court to allow him to go to church with a chaperone.

The case of Jonathan Perfetto marks the first time the New Hampshire Supreme Court is being asked to rule whether a probation condition that effectively bars church attendance violates constitutional rights to religious freedom.

Perfetto, 35, of Manchester, was convicted in 2002 of possessing child pornography. A condition of his probation is that he have no contact with children age 16 and under.

A lower court denied Perfetto’s request to attend Jehovah’s Witnesses services with a church elder acting as chaperone.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and Perfetto maintain the chaperone would eliminate any risk to children, and stressed that Perfetto was not convicted of assaulting a child. The state counters that public safety trumps Perfetto’s religious rights.

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