October 22, 2014

West Seneca Neighbors Dismayed Albany Judge Will Hear Sex Offender Group Home Case

10-22--2014 New York:

WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- The battle to move sex offenders out of a group home in West Seneca will continue in Albany. On Tuesday, the judge moved the case on the state's policy on sex offenders and housing from Erie County Court to Albany County.

Since February, residents have repeatedly expressed outrage that seven registered sex offenders are living in a group home on Leydecker Road in West Seneca. They say the state moved the men to their neighborhood without notifying them.

"You're putting the fox in the hen house," said Fran Gray, a neighbor. "All summer, this past year, the kids have not been allowed to play outside themselves. They're not allowed to come out unless mom or dad is out to keep an eye on things."

The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, or OPWDD, is in charge of the group home. Time Warner Cable News reached out for comment, but did not hear back.

Assemblyman Mickey Kearns said the reluctance to reveal information only makes him and the residents suspicious.

"OPWDD has not been forthcoming, and right now they are stating privilege under mental hygiene law," said Kearns, D-Buffalo. "We don't feel as though they have that privilege. We are not asking for individual records of health history.

"Emotionally it's like a punch in the gut. I'm not mad at the judge, I think the judge has to do his job, ruling on the points of law. However, I am upset with OPWDD because I do think this was an unnecessary thing to do. Another tactic, a legal tactic and strategy to delay us from getting information."

Meanwhile, neighbors said they will not be able to pack their bags to travel across the state, despite wanting their say in the courtroom.

"It would mean taking time off, keeping the kids out of school, traveling across the state, just to have our voices heard. It's completely unrealistic," Gray said.

A date has not been set for the next court hearing. ..Source.. by Jennifer Auh

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