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Appeals court overturns penalties for sex offender

CINCINNATI (AP) — A judge improperly barred a convicted sex offender from viewing pornography, accessing the Internet and using the telephone for sex services, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said the federal court in Memphis went too far because it banned Rashan Robert Doyle from being around his own four children. The ruling ordered Doyle to be re-sentenced.

Doyle was originally convicted in Buffalo, N.Y., of attempted sexual abuse in the first degree. The case involved an 11-year-old girl. Last year a federal judge in Memphis sentenced Doyle to more than three years in prison for failing to register as a sex offender after moving to Tennessee. As part of the sentence, the court said that after prison Doyle would have to spend the next 10 years with the additional restrictions on his activities.

He was barred from viewing pornography both legal and illegal, using any device that accessed the Internet without permission from a probation officer, using the telephone for sex services and being around children indirectly or directly.

The federal appeals court said U.S. District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla should have given reasons why he ordered the restrictions on Doyle after prison. The opinion, written by Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr., also said that the restrictions had nothing to do with Doyle's underlying crime — failing to register as a sex offender.

"To be sure, forbidding Doyle from possessing pornography, or calling a phone-sex number, might aid Doyle's rehabilitation if he had pleaded guilty to, for example, distribution of child pornography ...," the opinion, said.

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