Carmel, N.Y. – (2/17/2012) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) was joined by local lawmakers in Carmel on Friday to demand that his statewide Child Safety Zone Law (S1475) be passed immediately for the protection of our children in the wake of revelations that Level 3 Sex Offender and convicted pedophile Lance Smith was placed across the street from a daycare and a nursery school. In addition, a school bus stop where elementary children congregate is just 30′ away from his home, and Carmel High School and St. James the Apostle School are within a mile.
“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. There is no hole dark enough or deep enough for these predators. We are here to protect our kids.”
Smith is listed on the state sex offender registry as a Level 3, which is the most likely to re-offend. According to a 2002 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 4,300 child molesters were released from prisons in 15 States in 1994. An estimated 3.3% of these 4,300 were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years of release from prison.
Smith was convicted of sodomizing a girl under the age of 11 on June 21, 2005, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services sex offender registry. The record indicates threats and coercion were used in the crime, and that Smith knew his victim.
Smith was placed at 25 Seminary Hill Rd 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. The law doesn’t strictly exclude preschools or day-care centers. However, Senator Ball’s Child Safety Zone Law would close this loophole by setting up a 1,000 foot buffer for all schools including preschools and day cares, as well as parks and bus stops.
In 2009, Senator Ball worked with the Putnam County Legislature to enact a local Child Safety Zone Law that banned Level 2 and 3 offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, child-care facility, municipal recreation facility or open-space area. However, State Supreme Court Justice Francis A. Nicolai deemed in 2010 that the state laws supersedes the county’s law, making Putnam County’s Child Safety Zone unenforceable.
Carmel Town Supervisor Kennth Schmitt says this is an ongoing problem in his town and he fully supports Senator Ball’s legislation to end the ambiguity once and for all.
“We as elected officials have to take every step we can to ensure the health safety and wellbeing of our children whether it be a daycare center, nursery school or educational facility,” Schmitt said. “ We have to take every step we can to make sure these children are not going to be victims. It’s up to us as the leaders and it’s up to the community. I applaud Senator Ball for taking the necessary steps and we totally support him in his efforts.”
Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R-Golden’s Bridge) is sponsoring the Child Safety Zone legislation in the Senate. Assemblyman Castelli says he would also like to see the Child Safety Zone laws passed on the County level.
“Our children are our most precious resource. We must take the lead in our State by having Child Safety Zone Laws properly passed and enforced,” Assemblyman Castelli said.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Brittany Oat: (845) 200-9716.