Bail reform: Sex offender freed after Orange County nursery school playground arrest

NEW WINDSOR, Orange County (WABC) -- Police in New Windsor arrested a sex offender for allegedly trespassing at a nursery school, but he has since been freed under New York state's new bail reform law.

Authorities say 61-year-old Mark Edward Nelson, of Newburgh, entered the facility's fenced-in playground.

Two employees of the school and two children were exiting out of the side door to the playground when Nelson allegedly tried to approach them in the darkened area and make contact with them.

The women and children then retreated to their vehicle, left the area and called the police.

New Windsor police say that Nelson is a Level 3 sex offender in New York State. Level 3 is the most dangerous level.

In 1996, he was convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 10 and 11.

In this incident, Nelson was located and arrested for third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.

He was released on his own recognizance under the new law that prevents him from being remanded to jail.

"A level three offender, who has the most likelihood of reoffending, who had committed the most egregious crimes can lure and try to make contact with young children in a fenced-in area of a schoolyard, of a nursery schoolyard playground, we cannot have fallen any further as a society," Assemblyman Colin Schmitt said.

Nelson has been relocated to a motel used by Orange County Social Services.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that some changes to the bail reform law could be enacted by April 1.

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