E-MAILING PARENTS OF SEX OFFENDERS (Senator Brian Foley hopes legislation becomes law)
The Long Island Advance'/Linda Leuzzi
State Senator Brian X. Foley is hoping that legislation passed unanimously by the Senate andall but one vote by the Assembly will be signed by Governor Paterson that will enable parents tosign up for e-mails that will alert them of sex offender in their neighborhood for up to three zipcodes for Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders. But Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parentsfor Megan's Law, said her non-profit organization already has a web site in place that can provide30 zip codes for parents. A $593,000 grant last year was used to build its system, whichsends user alerts when a sex offender moves into a specific zip code anywhere on Long Island. The grant expanded the Web site for all new York State, Ahearn said. The Pat-Med SchoolDistrict, William Floyd and others use it and they send it out to members of the community. All a person has to do is log onto parentsformeganslaw.org and register for the e-mail alertprogram. They can receive e-mail alerts for up to 30 zip codes. If they want more, theycan register on the hotline and they can register for as many as they want. Ahearn saidparents would also get notified of Level 1 sex offenders. And the state's Web site, whatthey're proposing, is notification of Level 2 and 3, not even Level 1, she added. All ofthe legislators were informed of the existence of the site. Also, parents have an opportunityto report to us through our sex offender tips program, offenders who are out of compliance withregistration employment or residency restrictions or offenders who are in positions of trust wherethey can access potential victims. That's right on the home page. The sate can put ourWeb site on the state Criminal Justice page and parents can be notified right now. Ourconcern is that not-for-profits' budgets have been cut, we are now required to pay an MTA tax, andnow they're duplicating something that's already in existence, which we don't understand. maybe the focus should be on strengthening laws instead of duplicating services.