THE MOLESTER NEXT DOOR (In Mosaic of Ongoing Investigations, Restricted Areas and Notification Gaps, Surety Remains Elusive)

Long Island Press/Timothy Bolger

A North Bellmore high school student searched his block on an online sex offender map lastmonth
and found something that unnerved the whole neighborhood: A Level 2 sex offender who servedone
year in Nassau County jail for sexually abusing a 10 year old girl was not only living nearhim,
but within 1,000 feet of a school, in violation of county law. Less than a week later, at a
community meeting in Merrick, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey got anearful
from a room full of angry parents who accused police of failing to notify them and thereby
leaving kids at risk. The commissioner did his best to assure the crowd that officers areaware
of all registered sex offenders in their patrol area and that the errant offender would be
forced to leave. It is not residency restriction that motivates a sex offender to violatethe
law, it is their perception that law enforcement is not dedicated to ensuring compliance,says
Laura Ahearn, executive director of Stony Brook-based Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime
Victims Center, a group that advocates for sex crime victims and other victims of violentcrime
and lobbies for tougher laws governing sex offenders. Although the burden is on the sex
offender to tell authorities where they live, Suffolk has a compliance rate of between 92and 98
percent and Nassau is comparable, Ahearn says. She adds that sex offenders are mistaken ifthey
think police are slacking, since Nassau and Suffolk counties have some of the strictest lawsin
New York State. Some towns and villages have their own additional residency restrictions as
well, and still more are currently up for debate. As for more immediate notifications,Ahearn
suggests that the public sign up for e-mail alerts through her website,, where users can register to be notified if a sex offender moves
into their neighborhood by entering their zip code. Users can enter multiple zip codes aswell,
so they can be notified about sex offenders who move into nearby neighboring schooldistricts
that they otherwise wouldn't be alerted to, Ahearn says.
(New York)