Albany- Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Senator Marty Golden (R-C, 22nd District), today announced changes to strengthen New York’s Megan’s Law by making it more difficult for dangerous sex offenders to escape detection in the community.
The new measure, contained in the just-adopted State Budget, requires the highest-risk sex offenders -- those classified as Level 3 offenders -- to update their photos on the Megan’s Law Registry each year. Lower-risk offenders would also be required to provide regular photo updates to authorities, once every three years.
"Megan’s Law lets parents know when a sexual predator moves into their community and is living among them," said Senator Marty Golden. "Making sure that sex offenders can’t avoid detection by changing their appearance is another smart step towards protecting our families."
Golden continued, "Sexual predators will no longer be allowed to avoid the powerful deterrent of public scrutiny simply by cutting their hair or growing a beard. Better, more complete, and more current information about who and where sex offenders are is among the best tools we can offer parents to help them protect their families. We have no greater responsibility."
Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of "Parents For Megan’s Law," a group of concerned citizens advocating tougher sex offender laws, said, "Hoping to go about unnoticed in communities across the state, sex offenders frequently change their appearance and place themselves in positions where they can access our most vulnerable. If signed into law, this legislation would help community members recognize those that are known to pose a risk to public safety."
There are currently 19,665 registered sex offenders living in New York State -- 5,309 of who have been classified as Level 3 offenders, those posing the greatest risk, and are required under Megan’s Law to register for life.
The budget measure (S. 3666) requires Level 3 sex offenders to appear before law enforcement agencies each year to have a current photograph taken.
The updated photo will be posted to the state’s online sex offender registry, which is available at HYPERLINK "http://"http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/index.htm.
In addition, Level 1 and Level 2 sex offenders will be required to update their photographs at least once every three years.
Megan’s Law is named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed in 1994 by a paroled sex offender that had secretly moved into her neighborhood.