New York bill would tighten restrictions on where sex offenders can live

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Kristin Thorne reports on efforts to keep registered sex offenders from living near schools on Long Island.

There's a new push for tighter restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live in New York State.

A new bill moving through the state legislature and supported by Parents for Megan's Law would ban all sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.

"We've seen here in Nassau and Suffolk, offenders move in as close to 60 feet to an elementary school," said Laura Ahearn, of Parents for Megan's Law.

Ahearn says it's been happening since February 2015, when the New York State Court of Appeals struck down local residency restriction laws. Due to this, she said most sex offenders can live anywhere they want.

There are many instances of sex offenders living feet away from schools.
--In Hempstead, three sex offenders live together in one house less than 450 feet from two schools.
--A man who sodomized an 11-year-old girl lives around the corner from North Elementary School in Brentwood.
--In Central Islip, there are two sex offenders living across the street from two elementary schools.
--Canaan Elementary School is visible from the backyard of a man who raped a 13-year-old girl.

"For me, that's very concerning," Patchogue-Medford District Superintendent Michael Hynes said. "We want to make sure that all our kids are safe. I think we do a very good job of ensuring that, but as far as I'm concerned, that shouldn't be allowed."

Hynes is urging the New York state Assembly to pass the bill, which would allow counties to set their own residency rules with a 1,000-foot minimum school restriction.

"If New York State can limit the distance where a liquor license is issued from a school, at 200 feet, they can also limit where sex offenders reside from schools," Ahearn said.

The bill passed the state Senate last week, but it is being held up in the Assembly. If the Assembly does not approve it by Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo would have to step in.

Related Topics:
politicsmegans lawsex offenderBrentwood
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