Journal News-Westchester/Shawn Cohen

Current laws prevent sex offenders from teaching in schools but do not prohibitthem from working with children in jobs not funded by the government, such as sports coaches, danceand music teachers, and carnival-ride operators.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a glaring loophole, as he visited a Dobbs Ferrypark Monday to announce a bill that he said would restrict sex offenders from any job or volunteeractivity that requires substantial interaction with kids.
The fact that these sex offenders are able to coach our children's teams, operate rides atfairs, and give dance and music lessons is beyond scary, and we must take immediate action to stopit, he said during a news conference at Gould Park, joined by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, andLaura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law. This new legislation will close thishuge loophole so no children are put into harm's way.
The legislation, which Schumer said he would introduce this week, would amend the law toprevent convicted and registered sex offenders from accepting positions that place them insignificant contact with minors.
Currently, he said, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 leaves theseemployment decisions up to the states.
Besides requiring states to prevent offenders from accepting such jobs, he said, the billwould also require employers to check a registry, or risk fines, to make sure they're not hiringsex offenders.
Convicted sex offenders should not be employed in jobs that entail contact with children,period, Lowey said.
Ahearn, whose group is based in Long Island, said: Most parents want to believe they'redoing everything they can to protect their children. What they don't know is they could be handingtheir children over to convicted sex offenders.
(Dobbs Ferry, New York)