Sex offender living at daycare center

May 23, 2008 3:29:53 PM PDT
A warning was issued Friday about a sexual predator at a home day care center in Islip Terrace. Now, the Safe Haven Christian Daycare Center is shut down.

Authorities say a man living at the center, on Belmore Avenue, was convicted of rape. Now, they want to get the word out to parents.

Long Island reporter Lauren DeFranco has the story.

Rasheem Dupree was arrested Thursday for violating the terms of his parole. Parents say they had no idea that a convicted sex offender was living daycare center where they took their children. Officials say that's because the daycare provider never told them.

"She can't defend herself, she can't say anything if anything is happening," grandmother Candita Sanchez said. "So we have to defend her."

Sanchez is angry and confused. Her 2-year-old granddaughter was being cared for the home of a convicted sex offender, and the daycare provider kept it a secret.

"I'm worried about the case," Sanchez said. "I'm worried about the scenario that knowing that there was a sex offender, knowing that she had to know about it."

Local police and state officials were investigating the Safe Haven Christian Daycare Center after authorities received a tip that Dupree had moved in right after the center received its license.

"I think she's off her rocker, let's put it that way," one parent said. "To have somebody like this in the neighborhood and not know about it is even worse.

Laura Ahearn, of Parents for Megan's Law, said that the owner of the home, Adrian Johnson Dupree, manipulated the system. She says both the state offices of Children and Family Services and the parole board could not have allowed this situation to occur.

"She is a person who is providing a service to care for children during the day, knowing that this man is in the house, her stepson is in the house, and he's a convicted sex offender," Ahearn said. "She put these kids at great risk."

Dupree was arrested and convicted of third-degree rape in 2004. He was released in November of 2007. That means he has had at least six months of unsupervised access to small children.

"It is so outrageous that not only does policy have to change, but there has be some greater coordination on parole's part and on the state's part to try to flag these kinds of cases," Ahearn said.

Parole officers say they visited Dupree on several occasions, but had no idea of the daycare center. It is not clear if the owner's license will be revoked.