PROPOSED LAW TARGETS SEX-OFFENDER RESIDENCES (Walsh would limit registered offenders living in same home)

Times of Middle Country/Jennifer Choi

Brookhaven Councilwoman Kathy Walsh (R-Centereach) has proposed a local law to prohibit morethan two registered sex offenders from residing in the same one-family dwelling.  The intentis to limit the saturation of registered sex offenders, Walsh said, adding that the approval ofthis law would amend Chapter 55 of the code of the Town of Brookhaven's Child Protection Act. According to Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, town officials recentlyamended their local code to be consistent with Suffolk County law, which states that registeredsex offenders cannot live within a quarter mile of public and private schools, licensed day carecenters or playgrounds with playground apparatus.  Ahearn said this week there are 854registered sex offenders in Suffolk County.  Based on that relatively small number, Walshsaid, Limiting it to two per household in Brookhaven doesn't seem to be an unreasonablelaw.  Ahearn said, currently, there is no town code that regulates the number of registeredsex offenders residing in the same on-family dwelling.  She has been approached by residentsfrom Gordon Heights deeply concerned about multiple sex offenders in one home, she noted, addingthat there were five to six per house, specifically mentioning Homestead Drive in that Coramneighborhood.  This community has had a tremendous burden...for over a decade of so manyoffenders located in the area, said Ahearn.  This is a problem not only locally but all overthe country.  Walsh and Ahearn, who began working together in January, agreed the proposedlaw would alleviate the problem by holding landlords accountable.  Ahearn, who founded PFML 12years ago, agreed Walsh's amendment to the Child Protection Act would alleviate the saturationproblem by penalizing landlords...who are just trying to make a buck.  We're very pleasedthat Councilwoman Walsh stepped up to the plate, she said.  Brookhaven can now rest assuredthat certain landlords who are looking to exploit the community are not going to be able toanymore.
(New York)