SCHUMER SEEKS TIGHTER MEGAN’S LAW
US Senator Charles Schumer responded to the concerns of a Long Island based advocacy group byannouncing his proposed legislation to tighten up the federal Megan's Law by requiring local lawenforcement to more aggressively notify communities when a sexual predator moves in, eliminatinglocal authorities' discretion in the matter. He said local authorities still would have thediscretion to determine how they would notify the community of a high-risk sexual offender and whatinstitutions, organizations or persons to notify under the bill he planned to introduce. Accordingto Newsday, his proposal would require states to put their sex offender registries on the Internet,free of charge, to residents and proposes making $25 million in federal funds available to helpstates defray costs. Schumer said, the law was designed to protect children from sexual predators,but in many states, the way the law's been implemented, the registry of sexual predators might aswell be sitting on the shelves gathering dust. He said families should not be burdened with havingto do the detective work in going to a police station to learn if a sexual predator was in theirneighborhood. The burden should be on the law enforcement community… Laura Ahearn, founderand executive director of the Stony Brook based Parents for Megan's law said, Schumer's proposedbill reclaims the spirit of Megan's Law, which was to ensure we are made aware of the presence ofa predator. But, when her organization published New York's sex offender registry on its Web siteearlier this year, the group heard from outraged residents across the state, including some inCommack, who were surprised to learn of sex offenders in their neighborhood. Similar complaintswere heard around the country. The decision of not notifying the Commack community of a sexoffender there was defended by Suffolk police. They believed the offender did not pose a greatenough risk.