TAKING AIM AT SEX OFFENDERS (Long Island lawmakers consider proposals that would increase restrictions on where abusers live and would tightly monitor their whereabouts)
Lawmakers across Long Island are responding to heightened community concerns about sex offenders by proposing legislation that would more strictly govern where they live and how they are monitored. In Suffolk, county legislators are considering four proposals that would increase restrictions on offenders and the landlords who house them and notify victims when an offender violates probation. In Nassau, Long Beach and East Rockaway have moved to tighten prohibitions on where sex offenders reside. East Rockaway voted to prohibit offenders from living within 1,000 feet of areas where children congregate. Long Beach is expected to consider similar legislation, with school bus stops added to the list of excluded areas. We're pulling back our welcome mat, said Legis. Kate M. Browning (WFP-Shirley), author of two bills. However, she added, I will not say it's a fix or it's the cure to the problem we see. But it is another way to take control of the issue. The bill, expected to come before the 18-member legislature on Tuesday, affects only about 20 percent of the county's 824 registered sex offenders, according to Laura Ahearn, director of Parents for Megan's Law. This won't deal with most of them but it's a first step toward the towns hopefully changing their zoning laws, she said. Ahearn also praised another resolution from Browning that would require landlords to register every two years with Suffolk probation before renting a residence to more than on sex offender. The home must be equipped with a working telephone, and the owner or property manager would be required to complete a special training course. Ahearn estimated that fewer than 25 landlords and property managers would be affected.
NEW RULES TARGET ABUSERS
The Suffolk County Legislature is expected to consider four bills in the next few weeks that would place new restrictions on sex offenders and landlords that rent to them:
- RESOLUTION NO.2216
Require probation department to notify victim or their legal guardian when a registered sex offender absconds from supervision. Principal Sponsor: Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook)
- RESOLUTION NO.2264
Prohibit Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from loitering within 100 feet of any playground, day care center, public swimming pool, video arcade or youth center. Violators could go to jail for up to 1 year. Principal Sponsor: Majority Leader Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor)
- RESOLUTION NO.2290
Require landlords to register with the probation department and either they or their property manager undergo training before renting a residence to multiple sex offenders; residence must have a telephone. Violators could be fined up to $1,000 and/or go to jail for up to 1 year. Principal Sponsor: Legis. Kate M. Browning (WFP-Shirley)
- RESOLUTION NO.2094
Prohibit county departments and contractors from facilitating the placement of more than one sex offender in a residence. Principal Sponsor: Browning
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