MOLESTERS, PEDOPHILES IN SHADOWS (Court rulings, lack of manpower defeat the intent of Megan’s Law)
Paul Perez, 20, is a convicted child molester. He pleaded guilty in 1999 to abusing his own niece, who was then younger than 11. He was sentenced to five years' probation and put on the state's list of high-risk sexual predators while living in apartment building. Sam Gaynor lives in an apartment two floors below Perez with his three daughters. Nobody ever told Gaynor about Perez, who lived for months in the Bruce Avenue apartment. Several neighbors said they knew nothing about him and had never been notified by authorities of his sex crimes. Perez is in jail for a violation of his probation, but his uncle said he will return to the Bruce Avenue apartment when he gets out. It's a prospect that would likely distress Perez's neighbors. It has been more than four years since New York enacted Megan's Law, a high-profile statute that established a public listing for convicted sex predators. But, according to the Journal News, New York remains one of 30 states where local police are not required to actively notify neighbors when a registered offender moves into a community, keeping concerned parents in the dark about potential predators and limiting the highly touted law's effectiveness. Police departments across the state maintain records of offender profiles, but the information often gathers dust because many agencies do not inform neighbors or schools in the area, said Laura Ahearn, founder of Parents for Megan's Law in Stony Brook. We've been lulled into a false sense of security, she said. Ahearn helped draft a bill with US Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY that would require active notification of high-risk sex predators in all 50 states. The bill was introduced in Congress last month. You want to think that Megan's Law is in place and you will be notified, but that's not the case, it's left to the discretion of the police department. Why aren't the police telling people about someone who poses a risk?, Ahearn said.
(Yonkers, New York)
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