April 13, 2015

Officials worry after laws on sex offender housing tossed by court

People are going nuts over nothing, no one has shown ANY proof that anyone, even former sex offenders, living within xx feet of schools etc. are committing sex offenses. This is a case of crying "The sky is falling" something which is nonsense.
4-13-15 New York:

CUBA — Town officials and the area’s state representatives are concerned that a recent court decision on residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders may put the area’s youth in danger.

In February, the state Court of Appeals ruled a Nassau County law restricting residency for convicted sex offenders is invalid and only state laws on the topic can be enforced.

The ruling came after a convicted sex offender, Michael Diack, challenged the law which forced convicted sex offenders to live 1,000- plus feet away from a school or 500 feet from a park.

The decision makes similar local laws unenforceable — like in Cuba, where sex offenders whose victims were 16 years or younger were prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and churches, said Cuba town Clerk Nancy Orcutt.

State law says as a condition of parole, probation or supervised release, a Level 3 sex offender — those at the highest risk for new offenses — and those sex offenders whose victims were under 18 may not reside within 1,000 feet of a school.

Also, a state registration act through the Department of Justice exists which states that all sex offenders must register their place of residence with the state.

“It’s upsetting to see what the (Court of Appeals) decision has done,” Orcutt said, noting the town board held public hearings in 2012 during which the board heard lengthy and emotional discussion before the members adopted the local law. “The public is outraged with the court’s decision because the state law isn’t nearly as restrictive as our local law was for convicted sex offenders.”

Olean police Chief Jeff Rowley agrees with Orcutt.

Rowley, who was in charge of Olean’s sex offender registry a decade ago, said he was instrumental in the creation of Olean’s residency restriction law which stated that any convicted sex offender whose victim was 17 or younger had to live 1,000 feet away from a school, park, playground, daycare or any area accessible to youth.

“I’ve been an advocate for residency restrictions since the beginning, and this is a good law. It was effective,” the chief said. “Basically, it kept convicted sex offenders from living in any part of the city.”

There were a few violators over the years, but they moved once police informed them of the law, and Olean police never made an arrest under that law, Rowley said.

The state legislature should pass a law that allows municipalities to create and enforce their own sex offender residency restriction laws, he added.

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda, said they are working on it.

“It was very shocking when the Court of Appeals made that decision, and the state senate reacted immediately,” Young said.

The state senate passed a bill on Feb. 26 which permits municipalities to adopt a sex offender residency restriction law and also forces increased communication in terms of school districts and towns notifying their residents when a sex offender moves into the area, Young said, adding she supports these measures.

“Establishing strong protections against dangerous sexual predators is paramount to the safety and security for New Yorkers of all ages,” Young said. “There have been too many tragedies across the state in recent years involving violent sexual predators who had access to children. These measures provide the critical steps needed to safeguard against future heartbreak. Information and awareness is power, and this package of legislation will help the public take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

The senate bill was transferred to the assembly and is awaiting action from the Committee on Corrections, Young said.

“I’m not sure if or when the assembly will vote on it. We just finished the budget so everyone was concentrated on that, but we are aware that it is a hot button issue,” Giglio said. “There is a group of us who agree that locals should have a right to decide how they want to limit sex offenders from living in their communities and we have introduced a slew of different bills in an attempt to give residency restriction authority back to the communities. We will continue to push this legislation when we return to session next week.

“Sometimes, in our house, it’s a challenge to move any type of criminal legislation because there are (assembly) representatives and attorneys who feel that there shouldn’t be restrictions,” he continued. “They feel that restrictions infringe on the rights of those who were convicted and served their time in prison.”

Giglio disagrees with those who feel that restrictions shouldn’t be in place.

Statistics show that sex offenders, especially those who have committed sex crimes against younger youth and/or those who have committed a sex crime multiple times are at high risk of continuing that illegal behavior, the assemblyman said.

“The idea when creating (sex offender residency restrictions) is to protect the community from people who have committed these types of crimes, and do everything we can to make sure that everyone, especially children, are protected from these predators,” Giglio said.

A representative from Young’s office is attending tomorrow’s Cuba town board meeting to explain the proposed legislation and also share information about how the public can protect itself against sexual predators.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the basement of the Cuba Circulating Library, 39 E. Main St., Cuba. ..Source.. by DARLENE M. DONOHUE, Olean Times Herald

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