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NYS Senator Calls On Assembly To Pass Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

WAMC, Allison Dunne

A New York state Senator from the Hudson Valley is calling on the Assembly to pass legislation to keep registered sex offenders from living near children. 

Republican state Senator Terrence Murphy stood at Koegel Park in the Westchester County town of Somers Wednesday urging the Assembly to pass a bill that restricts Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from residing within 1,500 feet of their victims.

“To me, it’s common sense. And, I think to a lot of us standing here today, this is common sense. But the Assembly continues, year after year, to play politics with our fragile kids. Completely unacceptable,” Murphy says. “Right now, we have a Level 2 sexual offender living within 1,000 feet of this park.”

Murphy spoke about the need for both child safety and victim safety zones. Murphy says child safety zones are places where children congregate, such as schools, churches, synagogues, playgrounds, parks and daycare centers.

“There should be absolutely no Level 2 or Level 3 sexual predator to be allowed to reside anywhere near these kids,” says Murphy.

Murphy’s bill has twice passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Queens Democratic Assemblyman Ed Bruanstein sponsors the bill in the Assembly and several of the bill’s Assembly co-sponsors are Democrats, including a number from the Hudson Valley. Assembly Democratic spokesman Michael Whyland says the Assembly has held roundtables on this issue and will continue to monitor it, adding that assemblymembers want to make sure people are safe. Prior to being elected to the state Senate, Murphy served as a councilman in Yorktown, where Michael Grace is supervisor.

“How is this not the right thing to do?” asks Grace. “As a town supervisor we have, we get notification when somebody moves into a neighborhood and everybody’s up in arms about it.”

State law says that Level 3 sex offenders as well as Level 1 or Level 2 sex offenders  whose victim was under the age of 18, cannot enter school grounds or be within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center. Level 3 sex offenders are considered to be at the highest risk of re-offending. The New York State Court of Appeals in 2015 ruled that state law preempts local law when it comes to residency restrictions for registered sex offenders, which rendered a number of such local laws unenforceable, including in Rockland County. Again, Murphy.

“In 2011, we had a Level 3 sexual offender in Putnam County that was released from prison and allowed to move right next door to its two victims. Earlier this summer, we have heard about the similar incident right here in Peekskill,” Murphy says. “This, as I say, is completely, completely unacceptable.”

Two Westchester County Correction Superior Officers stood at the park alongside Murphy in support of his call.  

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