Brewster, N.Y. – (3/9/12) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) is working with local and county officials to find a solution to a growing problem in his district— the lack of housing for convicted sex offenders.

Lance Smith, a Level 3 sex offender, was recently 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.

“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.”

Mike Piazza, Putnam County’s Social Services Commissioner, said the problem of housing paroled sex offenders has been overwhelming local social services districts.

“While the Departments of social Services are mandated to provide housing for these parolees, common sense and community safety limit where they can be placed. And now in Putnam county we have found ourselves in a situation where no landlord is willing to accept these placements. And this has led to the immediate situation at hand,” Piazza said. “The release of parolee sex offenders into the community is a state problem and requires a state solution . It is logical to think that housing could be provided on a regional basis to parolees at sites owned by the state that conform to all child safety zone laws and Division of Parole requirements.

The Putnam county Department of Social Services supports Senator Ball’s work in addressing this difficult issue, of the safe placement of paroled sex offenders on a regional basis.”

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 crafted new legislation S.6683 to close the loophole.

“The loophole in the current legislation is mindboggling and needs to be plugged. That said, the state needs to permanently confine predators like this, this most likely to strike again, and not be releasing 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.”

Elisa Quattrucci lives in the Carmel neighborhood where this sex offender has been placed. She said the legislation that Senator Ball has proposed 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 said he supports Senator Ball’s legislation, too.

“I think that the proposed legislation is going to 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.

For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Brittany Oat: (845) 200-9716.


About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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