The Senate has passed legislation to keep sex offenders from living next to schools and day care centers, Sen. Greg Ball said Thursday, as he called for the Assembly and the Governor to act on the measure. The Assembly did not vote on it.
Ball’s measure followed a case in Carmel where a sex offender moved to within a mile of two schools, and very near two preschools. His measure was S2578 to close the loophole, and keep the offenders at least 1,000 feet away from day care centers.
Here’s Ball’s full release:
SENATOR BALL PASSES BILL TO CLOSE LOOPHOLE AFTER LEVEL 3 SEX OFFENDER IS RELOCATED NEAR CARMEL SCHOOLS
Carmel, N.Y. – 8/1/2013 –Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee has announced that the New York State Senate has passed his legislation (S2578) that would close a current loophole in the law, that allows level three sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of a day care facility. Senator Ball drafted the legislation after a level 3 sex offender was moved less than a mile from Carmel High School and St. James the Apostle School, and even closer to two preschools.
The bill, which passed the Senate, failed to be voted on in the Assembly. Senator Ball is now urging residents to contact their Assembly member to stress the importance of this bill to protect our children.
“The loophole in the current legislation is mindboggling and needs to be plugged. I thank my Senate colleagues for their partnership, but I urge residents to call their Assembly members to let them know the importance of this bill in protecting our children. That said, the state needs to permanently confine predators like this, and not release such dangerous individuals back into the community to strike again. It is hard to believe the state does not do everything in its power to protect our children from violent sex offenders,” Senator Ball said. “This is the least this state can do for our kids, and we should be leading the way and doing much more.”
Last year, Lance Smith, a level 3 sex offender was moved into an apartment off Seminary Hill Road in Carmel near schools and a school bus stop. Officials are committed to relocating Smith, but they are having a tough time because there are limited housing options for registered sex offenders. In addition, Putnam County has no homeless shelters for sex offenders.
Smith was placed on Seminary Hill Road under guidance from state parole officials and according to guidelines in the state’s Sexual Assault Reform Act, which requires a convicted sex offender on parole or probation to avoid school grounds. Smith’s home is less than a mile from Carmel High School and St. James the Apostle School, and even closer to two preschools.
But, the law doesn’t necessarily consider preschools or day-care centers. That’s why Senator Ball has worked to pass new legislation S2578 that would close this loophole.
“These sick sexual predators must be kept away from our children and prevented from ever striking again. Several years back, we passed civil confinement as a state requiring the worst of the worst to be confined after incarceration. This guy needs to be in a facility, not in our neighborhood in close proximity to children,” Senator Ball said. “I want this guy moved, far away from our children, and preferably I would like to see him and all those like him permanently detained. It is vital that New York State, primarily the New York State Attorney General and other respective agencies, conduct an immediate investigation into why the ‘Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act’ is not functioning properly. Families should not have to live in fear that children are not safe to play outside and walk to school. It’s time to find a permanent solution that warehouses these predators permanently and together in a controlled and confined facility where they will never be able to strike again.”
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith applauded Senator Ball for drafting the legislation and urged the New York State Assembly and Governor to act.
“Our children are our most precious and most vulnerable resource and we must strengthen the laws to protect children against those who would victimize them,” said Sheriff Smith. “I applaud Senator Ball and his colleagues in the Senate for bringing this amendment forward and I urge our Assembly Members and the Governor to act on this bill and thereby make our children safer.”
Elisa Quattrucci lives in the Carmel neighborhood where this sex offender has been placed. Last year during a press conference outside of Smiths residence she said Ball’s legislation is long overdue.
“I think the law is wonderful, it needs to be enacted, it needs to be passed and it needs to be done from the state level to protect our kids,” Quattrucci said. “The law as it is written now leaves too much leeway, allowing for someone to make a decision based on their common sense or lack thereof. So when the law is firmed up enough so they don’t have that leeway, the law will fit and there’s no reason why somebody can move into a place like this ever again.”
Lt. Brian Karst of the Carmel Police Department also showed his support for Senator Ball’s legislation.
“This legislation will be an excellent tool for us to better manage the sex offenders that are living in our jurisdiction and that may be coming to our jurisdiction in the future,” Lt. Karst said. “I would like to thank Senator Ball for his work in passing this bill in the Senate. I can’t stress enough how important it is that the Assembly and Governor act to correct this loophole and help us protect our community.” (ARTICLE)