Posted by: Dan Curtis
CARMEL, N.Y. – Senator Greg Ball has recently proposed new legislation that would close a loophole that allows level three sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of daycare facilities.
The state’s current Sexual Assault Reform Act requires a convicted sex offender on parole or probation to avoid school grounds, according to Ball.
“However, the law doesn’t necessarily consider preschools or daycare centers,” Ball said.
Ball crafted his new legislation after level three sex offender Lance Smith was moved last year into an apartment off Seminary Hill Road in Carmel near Carmel High School, St. James the Apostle School, and two preschools.
The bill proposed by Ball was passed by the state Senate but failed to be voted on in the assembly. Now Ball is asking residents to contact their Assembly member to talk about the importance of protecting children.
“The loophole in the current legislation is mindboggling and needs to be plugged…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.”
Ball says officials are actively trying to move Smith from his current residence but they are having trouble doing so because of limited housing options for registered sex offenders.
“This guy needs to be in a facility, not in our neighborhood in close proximity to children…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,” Ball said.
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith praised 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 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.”
Ball is appreciative of the support he has received from the Sheriff and also other officials throughout Putnam County.
“Sheriff Smith is a great man that works tirelessly to keep Putnam County the safest county in New York State. I salute the Sheriff for the work he does every day to keep our county safe and I welcome his support for this common sense law. I have also garnered support from the Carmel Town Board including Supervisor Schmitt and Councilwoman McDonough. Lt. Brian Karst of the Carmel Police Department has also showed his support for this legislation.”
This new legislation is not the first time Ball has tried to protect children from heinous crimes. According to Ball, In 2009 he worked with Putnam County Legislature to enact a local Child Safety Zone Law that banned level two and three sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, child-care facility, municipal recreation facility or open-space area, but it did not go into effect.
“In 2010 State Supreme Court Justice Francis A. Nicolai deemed that the state laws supersede the county’s law, making Putnam County’s Child Safety Zone unenforceable,” Ball said. “Families should not have to live in fear that children are not safe to play outside and walk to school. I am asking the Assembly to act swiftly to close this loophole to protect our children.” (ARTICLE)