Roundtable dialogue included measures to enhance protection and prevent crimes
Assemblyman Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson) and his colleagues held a Sex Offender Watch Task Force forum today in Yorktown Heights with members of law enforcement, education, local officials and victims advocates. The group discussed ways the state can better protect children in the Lower Hudson Valley and statewide. The information gathered will be used to create legislation that will help protect New York’s most vulnerable citizens from these dangerous criminals.
“We are going to be working very closely with Assemblyman Ball to propose a local version of his legislation here in Yorktown in the very near future,” Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco said. “We would also support county or state buffer zones to keep our kids away from dangerous predators.”
“The typical sexual predator of young children has an average of 117 victims. Those souls are forever touched and the impact, in many instances, goes far beyond the victim. We must do all that we can to keep sexual predators away from our children,” Assemblyman Ball said.
“As a former prosecutor specializing in sex crimes cases against children, I know how important it is to have strong laws in place to protect our children from dangerous sexual predators,” Dan Schorr said. Schorr, a former prosecutor in New York City and Westchester. “It’s important for local district attorneys across New York State to work with the legislature to enact laws that give prosecutors greater tools to prevent and prosecute these heinous crimes. This legislation sets up a critical barrier between dangerous criminals and our children.”
“Sexual abuse is not something to be taken lightly,” Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) said. “These discussions are very important for us as legislators and for the community. It is our job to assist law enforcement and community organizations in protecting our vulnerable children.”
Many localities have enacted “Child Safety Zone” laws which prohibit certain registered sex offenders from residing or entering within a specified distance of schools, child care facilities or areas where children congregate. However, some of these laws have been struck down by county courts on grounds that they are preceded by state law.
“I have been fighting for Child Safety Zones for years. With the assistance of Assemblyman Ball, we have hosted forums to try to get this important legislation enacted. If Child Safety Zones prevent one child from being victimized and traumatized, it will be worth it,” said Dr. Terrence Murphy, President of Keeping Westchester Safe and Chairman of Child Safety Zones NY.
“I have joined Assemblyman Ball at both events he hosted this year,” said George Oros, Minority Leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. “We have heard so much testimony on the issue of sex offenses. Now is the time for action. It is so important to the victims and the community that we develop a well-rounded approach to prevent abuse and counsel victims.”
Assemblyman Ball held Sex Offender Watch Task Force forums in Yorktown Heights in March of 2009 and July of 2008. The task force will continue to travel throughout the state, seeking solutions to the problems communities face in preventing sex crimes, managing sex offenders and serving the needs of sex crime victims.