Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New York to limit Level III sex offenders

NYC Councilmen propose new restrictive sex offender laws

2:28 AM EST, January 16, 2008

Associated Press Writer

The city's most dangerous sex offenders would be barred from living within 1,000 feet of a school or park, under a new proposal from three City Council members. Their plan could make it difficult for the offenders to find housing in a city where residents are stacked in high-rise buildings and crowded neighborhoods.

"The act of preying on children is the most depraved and unforgivable act imaginable," Minority Leader James Oddo said in a statement Tuesday.

"We as a government should not be forgiven if we fail to do everything we can to protect kids from these monsters."

Oddo and council members James Vacca and Joseph Addabbo introduced the proposal last week. It would affect only Level 3 offenders, who are considered to be at the highest risk of reoffending.

New York State does not restrict where sex offenders can live, but some counties and cities around the state have imposed such rules.

Last year, Putnam County approved regulations restricting sex offenders within 2,500 feet of feet of schools, parks, large apartment houses or any other place where children congregate.

Rockland County also established a 1,000-foot "child safety zone." But in the upstate city of Binghamton, a measure barring sex offenders from living within a quarter-mile of a school or school bus stop was repealed after concerns were raised about forcing offenders from their homes.

The New York City proposal's sponsors were unsure how much of the city would be off-limits to sex offenders if the legislation passed.

"I think people have a right to know that the area surrounding the schools where their children go is safe," Vacca said. "It's going to make our children and our school areas a safe environment."

An unsuccessful 2005 proposal would have required Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders in the city to live at least a quarter-mile away from schools and parks.

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