TRACKING PREDATORS OF CHILDREN
A 7-year-old girl was abducted from the busy East Side Recreation Park in Saratoga Springs. Shewas taken in a pickup truck to the Weible Avenue Ice Rink parking lot where she was kept for anhour and then returned to the park. This is every parent's nightmare. The accused child-abductorChris G. Turner was arrested the next day and charged with the crime. Turner is a convicted childmolester (his victim was a 7 year old girl) who was recently released from a Georgia prison afterserving three years. He fled the state in violation of his 11-year parole and came to SaratogaCounty. How are parents to know if a convicted sexual predator could be on the prowl in theircommunity? Unfortunately, in New York State it isn't easy, according to the nonprofit group Parentsfor Megan's Law. The group's Web page (www.parentsformeganslaw.com) states the following: Most NewYorkers have been under the false impression that they or their school district will be notified ifone of the over 3,000 highest risk predatory sex offenders registered in New York move into theircommunity. This is simply not the case. Of the more than 10,000 registered sex offenders residingin New York, more than 7,000 have been protected from community notification. The reason is thelegality of Megan's Law, which requires community notification when a convicted sex offender movesin, is being challenged in the courts. There could be convicted sex offenders living next door andyou wouldn't know. Parents for Megan's Law is doing its best to keep tabs on where convicted sexoffenders are living and offers a database on their Web page. Unfortunately, in New York State,unlike most other states, there is not a state-sanctioned Web site for folks to easily find out ifa convicted sex offender has moved into the neighborhood. The federal sex offender notification lawestablished a toll-free number (1-900-288-3838) that people can call to determine whether a namedperson is a convicted sex offender. The Parents for Megan's Law Web page offers a lot ofinformation for parents and is worth a look.