Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced that the Senate has passed legislation (S.6019) to require the lifetime registration of sex offenders and to prevent sexual predators from coming off the State sex offender registry later this month.
"Hundreds of convicted sex offenders are about to be removed from the state’s sex offender registry because of the way the law is written in New York State," said Senator Larkin. "Currently, a sex offender must remain on the registry for ten years. Megan’s Law, which greatly improved the way we deal with these criminals, is about to reach its ten-year anniversary at the end of this month. That means that anyone who was placed on the registry when we instituted this law ten years ago is about to come off the registry. Knowing this, we must immediately amend Megan’s Law and require the lifetime registration of sex offenders. Are these predators any less dangerous just because it’s been ten years? Do we really want to take the chance of not knowing where they are in our communities? Do we really want to lose the records on people who would hurt our children? It doesn’t make sense. This legislation will keep our neighborhoods safer and will allow law enforcement to better protect our young people."
On January 21, 2006, the 10th anniversary of the effective date of New York State’s sex offender registry, 168 sex offenders will be dropped from the registry because they have met the 10-year mandate to keep police posted of their whereabouts. Hundreds more will drop off the sex offender registry each month thereafter, totaling over 3,500 offenders by the end of 2006.
The Senators were joined at a news conference by Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of "Parents For Megan’s Law," a group of concerned citizens advocating for tougher sex offender laws.
"Legislative action must be taken immediately to prevent thousands of convicted sex offenders from vanishing off of the Registry," said Laura Ahearn. "Without immediate legislative intervention, sexual predators will be allowed to go about completely unnoticed in our communities. They could be coaching your child, selling them ice cream or working in a toy store and parents or employers would never know."
The bill to be acted on by the State Senate today would mandate lifetime registration for all levels of sex offenders. The bill does include a provision that would allow certain level one offenders to petition for a relief of duty to register after a minimum of twenty years.
This legislation is the first step in a series of bills the Senate will act on this month to toughen New York’s sex offender laws. Next week, the Senate plans to act on legislation (S.3273) that would provide for the civil commitment of sexually violent predators after they’ve completed their prison sentence in order to protect the public from criminals likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence.