No matter how carefully you monitor convicted sex offenders, and no matter how benign their behavior might be because of some developmental disability they might have, these convicted criminals should not be placed in intimate proximity to their potential victims.
Yet, they are, with the state’s full knowledge and blessing.
That practice needs to end.
The Jonathan Carey Foundation, named after a boy killed in a state-run residential facility in Niskayuna in 2007, used the state’s open records laws to discover that 12 group homes in the state have been housing nearly 40 paroled Level 2 and 3 sex offenders.
Level 3 sex offenders are considered at the highest risk to commit another sex crime and harm others, while Level 2 offenders are at moderate risk.
These sex offenders are being placed without notice in group homes along with other special needs people, according to state Sen. Rob Ortt, chairman of the Senate’s Mental Health And Developmental Disabilities Committee.
State officials say this has been a practice for years. They say sex offenders with developmental disabilities can, after careful review of their cases, live in group homes with others when they receive proper supervision and treatment.
If you had a developmentally disabled child or other family member in a state-operated group home, would you trust that that facility is operating with such strict adherence to procedures and standards that it could absolutely protect your loved one from a convicted sexual predator in the same home?
There’s no way a Level 2 or Level 3 sex predator should be around vulnerable individuals like these, no matter how much they’ve been vetted and how much treatment they receive.
Earlier this year, the state Senate passed a bill (S3027) that would prohibit sex offenders from residing in community residences where developmentally disabled individuals live and receive treatment. The bill was referred to committee in the Assembly.
Now that the public is aware of this situation, it’s vital that the state find alternative accommodations for the convicted sex offenders currently living in group homes and that the Legislature prohibit the practice by law.
One day, the existing policy is going to explode. And innocent people will be the victims.