November 1, 2012

Dozens of New Yorkers fight to get off child-abuse registry

11-1-2012 New york:

Forty-one New Yorkers are going to court to try to get off a statewide child-abuse registry, saying they were denied the chance to clear their names.

The database contains hundreds of thousands of people accused in “credible” abuse and mistreatment cases — and their names can be stuck there for 10 to 28 years.

People on the list can be denied any jobs and licenses that involve working with children for many years after the original complaint was made.

Lawyer Thomas Hoffman said those fighting for expungement usually faced a “fairly benign” accusation that was not referred to family or criminal court.

“The reason that you end up on the list could be anywhere from you don’t send your kids to school to corporal punishment,” Hoffman said. “But the consequence is devastating. Employers don’t know why you’re on the list. They don’t know if you’re a pedophile or you didn’t send your kids to school for a week.”

Anyone who wants to get off the registry is entitled to a hearing. Hoffman said his clients requested a hearing but never received notice one was being held.

He went to court last week to force the Office of Children and Family Services to schedule new hearings for 41 men and women across the state.

One client, Gloria Boyd, 46, said she’s in the registry because she left her 6-year-old child with an adult nephew who tested ...continued... by BARBARA ROSS, CHRISTINA BOYLE, TRACY CONNOR

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