Monday, March 17, 2008

Huntington Nabs Six Predators Living in Violation of the Law

from the Town of Huntington

by Lynn E. Ruvolo

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. - Legislation sponsored and passed by Councilman Stuart Besen to closely monitor the residences of sexual predators has resulted in the discovery of six convicted sex offenders living illegally and in close proximity to local schools, playgrounds and parks.

One of the predators, found living less than a quarter-mile from the Birchwood Intermediate School in South Huntington, has already left the community and relocated to Pennsylvania. Efforts are now underway to force the remaining five predators to re-locate and comply with Town and Suffolk County law.

"Immediately after determining that six predators were living in residences in violation of this law, we launched an investigation and put in motion our process to force these predators to pack up and relocate," Councilman Besen said. "This legislation played an integral role in helping us discover these sexual predators living in clear violation of the Town Code. Nothing is more important than protecting the welfare of our children and this new law has already proven itself in less than one year."

The sweeping legislation, enacted by the Town Board last year, established an innovative mapping program that monitors and tracks the residences of sexual predators through information provided by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services. A recent check of the State website by the Town's Department of Public Safety revealed that six Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders were living in residences in violation of Town Law. This law, also sponsored and passed by Councilman Besen, restricts predators from living within 1,320 feet of a school, park, licensed day care center, playground or day camp.

On a monthly basis, Public Safety personnel check a website operated by the State Department of Criminal Justice Services that identifies the residences of registered sex offenders. By applying information provided on the website to the Town's mapping program, a recent check revealed an offender living in close proximity to the Birchwood Intermediate School.

Public Safety then issued a notice of violation to the property owner and the offender directing that the offender re-locate within 45 days or face prosecution. Last week, the Town received word from the State and Suffolk County Police Department that the sex offender had re-located to Pennsylvania.

Similar notices of violations have already been sent to the remaining five offenders directing them to re-locate within 45 days. These five were found living illegally in Huntington and Huntington Station.

"Together with our Public Safety Division, Suffolk County's cooperating agencies and this enforcement tool, we are working to rid these sensitive areas of predators," said Supervisor Frank P. Petrone. "We want to keep our children safe and this legislation is proving to be an effective measure in doing just that."

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