Updated: 02/11/2014 7:01 PM
Created: 02/11/2014 5:56 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen
People are concerned just one day after our exclusive New York State Exposed report about sex offenders being moved into group homes in neighborhoods. News10NBC has been hearing from many viewers who think this is wrong. At least a dozen registered sex offenders who were in a secure institution are now living near families. Unions are also expressing their concerns to lawmakers in Albany.
Since our story aired Monday night, News10NBC heard from several state employees who worked at Monroe Developmental Center who privately say they’re concerned that some of these individuals are not suited to be in group home settings. That message was also passed along to state lawmakers Tuesday at a public hearing in Albany.
Our investigation uncovered 12 medium and high risk sex offenders who were in the secure unit of the developmental center just prior to its closing. They have now been placed in group homes throughout western New York. Their crimes ranged from attempted rape to sexual abuse of children. Two of them are now living in a home on North Road in Scottsville. News10NBC discovered seven are at two adjoining homes on a residential street in West Seneca.
At a budget hearing in Albany Tuesday, union advocates told lawmakers the closing of MDC has left the community's vulnerable as well as the clients.
Kathy Button, CSEA Local 436 President, said, "The closure of Monroe DC was done in a very disheartening way. Individuals being placed in the community homes from the MDC have special needs, behavioral problems, and some are pedophiles that require special training direct care staff to take care of them."
A spokesperson for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities says a client's transition to a group home is only approved after a risk assessment is made by a team of trained clinicians and that the safety of residents and the community are of utmost importance. On the issue of notification, the state says people can always check the state sex offender registry to find out who might be living in their neighborhood.