LEVY AIDE SUSPENDED IN SEX OFFENDER FLAP
Suffolk probation director John Desmond was hit with a 10-day suspension, without pay,recently from County Executive Steve Levy for improperly urging the early release of sexualoffenders last spring, according to Levy aides. But Laura Ahearn, a victim right's advocatewho first publicly complained about the issue, said Levy's response is not strong enough andDesmond should be removed as head of the $42.7-million-a-year agency and placed in a less sensitivepost. Desmond, a 38-year department veteran who has headed probation since 2004, wassuspended Oct. 11-22, which will cost him $5,070. Desmond, who makes $132,000 annually,acknowledged the suspension for administrative failure in the court discharge of five sexualoffenders while testifying at a legislative budget hearing Wednesday, a day before the disciplinewas to end. He later declined to comment further. Ahearn, executive director of Parents ofMegan's Law and Crime Victims Center, raised concerns last June before a legislative committeeafter hearing reports that probation was urging judges to release as many as 15 sex offenders fromsupervision early. It was a complete outrage, said Ahearn, adding the move violates stateguidelines and county policy. The community works very hard to get convictions andrecidivism is reduced when offenders are carefully monitored, Ahearn said. Levy's actionsends a message that Desmond's move was unacceptable, she said. But Ahearn added allowing Desmondto remain means sex offenders are not being taken seriously by the department.