Seward: State Must Deal With Sex Predators

James L. Seward

April 29, 2005

With the budget done, State Senator James L. Seward said the legislature must use the balance of the session to push for reforms in laws dealing with sexually violent predators.

"The rapes and murders of two girls in Florida by convicted sex offenders focus new light on the absolute urgency of keeping sexual predators behind bars," Senator Seward said. "New York has 19,665 registered sex offenders living in the state; 5,300 are classifed as level 3 offenders -- those posing the greatest risk. We have to be sure they can not harm any more children."

In press conferences across his district, Seward unveiled legislation designed to deal with sex predators.

The senate has approved senate bill 3273, which requires the civil commitment of sexually violent predators after they have completed their prison sentences. Seward said: "The issue is simple: We must protect the public from criminals likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence. Sixteen other states have enacted laws permitting authorities to hold sexually violent predators when their sentences end, and for one key reason: repeat rates for sexual predators are extraordinarily high."

Other legislation Seward is pushing for:

* S. 4656 (Seward, cosponsor) -- Requires all level 3 sex offenders to be continuously electronically monitored as to their whereabouts via global positioning (GPS);
* S. 204 (Seward, cosponsor) -- Prohibits employment of sex offenders in any position which involves substantial contact with children;
* S. 4025 -- Prohibits sex offenders from residing within a one-quarter mile radius of any public or private school or day care facility;
* S. 4793 -- The "Tenth Anniversary Omnibus Sex Offender Registration Reform Act" proposes sweeping changes to New York's current Megan's Law provisions. The legislation includes provisions requiring information about all sex offenders to be published on the Internet and establishes proactive community notification requirements.

The new state budget includes a provision in S. 3666 that requires the highest risk sex offenders (level 3) to update their photgraphs on the sex offender registry each year. Lower risk offenders would have to update their photographs once every three years.

"By acting now, and making this a priority for the balance of the session, we won't wait for Florida's tragedies to come to our doorstep," Seward concluded.