Parole Office whistleblower says agency deliberately botched sex offender cases

New York Post

Written By:Jacob Geanous

January 28, 2023 11:49am

A former veteran parole officer claims her agency deliberately mishandled the cases of high-risk sex offenders to appease the governor’s woke mandate to reduce the prison population and those under state supervision.

Rita Flynn, 67, worked for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for 42 years, eight spent managing cases of criminals convicted of depraved sex crimes.

Cases were purposely botched — including instances in which convicted pedophiles were released from supervision, despite red flags, to get arrested for new sex crimes — and colleagues were promoted for looking the other way and dropping cases, she claimed.

Supervisors even discouraged her from reporting signs of abuse — all in desperate attempt to make the state’s sex offender supervision program look successful, Flynn said.

“They’re covering up criminal activity on the part of high-risk violent offenders just to push it out there and appease Albany and discharge people to appease the governor’s office” Flynn told the Post.

Flynn, who worked as a parole officer out of DOCCS offices in Westchester and Dutchess Counties — spending 2007 through 2016 on the agency’s Sexual Offenders Management Unit — called for the Office of the Inspector General to investigate her claims, and included in her letter what she said were purposely-botched cases, including:

  • The agency approved a transfer for a convicted pedophile jailed for child pornography to move to North Carolina, where he was arrested twice last year and charged with multiple counts of child exploitation. The parolee was granted transfer to another state despite being under investigation again for child porn, which, under state law, should have barred him from moving, she said.
  • A colleague was promoted after recommending a Westchester grammar school teacher convicted of child sex abuse be discharged from supervision. The recommendation came even though the perv was sentenced to lifetime supervision, she said. “The [officer] covering this case had clearly played along with our administration’s tawdry agenda … and was rewarded when she was politically appointed to a top agency position,” Flynn wrote.
  • A “sadomasochist” school administrator jailed for assaulting a child was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender after he was released from supervision. Flynn claims he should not have gotten off supervision in the first place, but he did after the department ignored a report she filed on the man, who violated his parole by talking on the phone with another convicted sex offender.
  • A high-risk pedophile convicted of sexually abusing an 8-year-old was being supervised by the state when a photo surfaced of him him lying in bed shirtless with a toddler on his chest, Flynn said. The officer assigned to the case was told by the administration to “stand down” and not file a report with the Albany child abuse hotline about the sick photo, according to Flynn. She reported it and was reprimanded by her agency.

“They deliberately mishandled the supervision of sex offender cases,” she wrote in the letter to the IG. “The agency now functioned as a mule to push the governor’s new agenda that called for emptying out the prison system based on the theory that ‘less is more.'”

Flynn said she was forced to resign in February 2020 after repeatedly speaking out against agency corruption she said began under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and has continued through Gov. Hochul’s term.

The case Flynn said ultimately ended her career involved a serial pedophile who was released to a motel in upstate Liberty — which Sullivan County was paying to house sex offenders — despite her outspoken warnings that he was likely to reoffend and needed a treatment plan.

Instead, the agency removed Flynn from her special assignment in 2016, but she refused to drop the issue. In February 2020 she was given two choices — either retract her complaint against the department and sign her resignation papers, or face two years in jail for sharing information about her parolees with her attorney — she said.

She signed out of fear and, to her dismay, learned that the serial pedophile at the center of her final case on special assignment was released from supervision late last year, Flynn added.

“I could have drank the Kool-Aid like I was told,” Flynn said. “I could have saved my job, but I wouldn’t be able to put my head down at night. I’m a disgraced officer. That weighs heavy on my heart, but in my head I tried to do the right thing.”

Flynn now has two pending lawsuits against the department and her supervisors including a federal lawsuit alleging free speech and due process violations. She is appealing the federal case after it was dismissed in June by a judge who ruled her free speech isn’t covered under the law when acting as a public employee, not a citizen.

She also has an open whistleblower retaliation case in the New York Court of Claims filed in April 2021 that remains open.

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