Senate Passes Bills Cracking Down On Sex Offenders

Martin J. Golden

May 22, 2008


Brooklyn- State Senator Marty Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) is announcing
that he joined his colleagues in the New York State Senate this week passed
a package of bills that would make it more difficult for sex offenders to
evade tracking by law enforcement and work in jobs that include substantial
contact with children.

Legislation passed (S.479), sponsored by Senator John Bonacic (R-C-I,
Mount Hope), would strengthen the current monitoring of Level 3 sex
offenders, as designated under Meghan’s Law, by requiring they be tracked
using GPS technology. The legislation would require members of the Division
of Criminal Justice Services monitor the GPS devices and notify necessary
law enforcement officials.

The Senate also passed a bill (S.172B), that would prohibit Level 3
sex offenders from moving to a residence that is within 500 feet of any
school building regularly used for instructional purposes.

The Senate also passed legislation (S.44), that would make it a class
A misdemeanor for first-time sex offenders to apply for a job that would
allow them to have access to children, perform for children, be alone with
children or participate in any other activity involving children. Repeat
sex offenders would be guilty of a class D felony if they are found guilty
of violating the law

“The bills passed by the Senate earlier this week continue our effort
to keep communities and families safe,” said Senator Marty Golden. “There
is no excuse for government not to do all in its power to keep people safe.
Just because high profile crimes, such as the murder of Jessica Lunsford in
Florida, which prompted the Senate’s efforts to track sex offenders by GPS
are no longer in the headlines, that does not mean the victims should be
forgotten. We do not honor those victimized by crime unless we do all we
can to punish those who committed the crime, and work to prevent future
crimes from being committed.”

“When the safety of our children is at stake, we cannot afford the
smallest loophole or slightest ambiguity in our laws,” continued Senator
Golden. “We need to make it absolutely clear that sex offenders cannot be
allowed to come into close contact with children through their employment.
We must deny sexual predators any avenue which they might try to use to
abuse more children.”

In addition, the Senate passed a bill (S.434), that would increase
the number of times a sex offender has to verify their registration with
the Division of Criminal Justice Services. A separate piece of legislation
(S.2458A), would make it a class E felony for any Level 3 sex offender who
fails to register or report a change of address.

In addition, the Senate passed a bill (S.5917A),that would require
convicted sex offenders to register their Internet related information.
This bill goes beyond the E-STOP legislation signed into law earlier today
by Governor David Paterson, by making it a class D felony for a convicted
sex offender to lie about their age while disseminating indecent material
to minors.

The bills were sent to the Assembly.

Legislation also includes immediate email notification to help keep children, families safe

The New York State Senate today approved legislation to require the State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to post critical information regarding every registered sex offender in New York State, and provide immediate, email notification to local residents when a sex offender moves into a specific community.

The bill (S3713), sponsored by Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), is part of the Senate Majority’s comprehensive effort to combat dangerous sexual predators, and keep children and families safe.

"Megan's Law provides concerned parents with access to the information they need to protect their children," said Senator Marty Golden. "This legislation makes everything in the Sex Offender Registry available online and provides people with an opportunity to automatically receive information about dangerous sex offenders living in their community. This is a commonsense initiative that uses technology to make our communities safer places to live."

Senator Golden continued, "Our children are our most precious resource, and we have a responsibility to act on important legislation designed to keep them safe. It’s critical that we take advantage of 21st Century technology to protect vulnerable young kids from those who could do them harm. We are giving law enforcement additional tools to do their jobs so we can win the fight against these dangerous criminals."

Under Senator Skelos’ bill, New Yorkers can access information about every registered sex offender in New York State, regardless of how much of a risk the offender is believed to pose to the public, while having the ability to sign up for urgent email alerts that notify specific zip codes of the presence of a sex offender in real time.

Under current law, only information on Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders is accessible on the DCJS website, but only through a subdirectory maintained by the agency on its website and distributed to local law enforcement agencies monthly. In order to view the subdirectory, a person must provide his or her name in writing.

While DCJS provides valuable information concerning those offenders who have been determined to pose a moderate or high risk, the agency currently does not provide similar information about offenders found to pose a lower risk of reoffense.

Under the current Sex Offender Registration Act, individuals may call a toll-free number operated by the Division or be notified by a local law enforcement agency to learn of low risk offenders in his or her community. To utilize the toll-free number, however, a caller must have the sex offender's name and either the offender's exact address, date of birth, social security number or driver's license number.

The Senate bill approved today will provide greater access to sex offender registry information and provide that information in a more swift and usable manner.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.