Updated: 04/27/2014 11:42 PM
Created: 04/27/2014 6:43 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts
News10NBC brought you an exclusive New York State Exposed back in February about the state quietly moving sex offenders into residential areas in without notifying the neighbors. Now, Senator Patrick Gallivan is taking action to assure it never happens again.
The state moved a dozen sex offenders into group homes after the Monroe Development Center closed back in December. They moved into areas across Western New York, and many residents were outraged that they were kept in the dark about what was happening.
Now, Senator Gallivan is proposing legislation that would require residents to be notified within 10 days before a sex offender is transferred from a state facility into a residential area.
“You can understand people’s concern if a sex offender is going to reside in their community,” said Senator Gallivan.
He said the state’s decision to transfer sex offenders from a secure institution into residential neighborhoods is both wrong and dangerous, and that the state has an obligation to notify local leaders first.
Senator Gallivan said the goal is to give these communities enough time to address public concerns and take steps to ensure their safety.
“Once this became public, I had local elected officials reaching out to me and constituents reaching out to me. Some were concerned, and some were outraged by the apparent secrecy,” he said.
John Norris is one of those residents. He said the state moved a sex offender into his neighborhood without telling him.
“The scary part is you wake up, and you find out that this is going on in your community, next door, and you don’t even know about it. Then we have officials that do know because it wouldn’t happen in their community,” said Norris.
Senator Gallivan said News10NBC’s exclusive report on New York State exposed prompted him to take action.
“The fact that you guys looked into this, and brought it to the public’s attention, no doubt helped to accelerate people’s awareness. As lawmakers, we need to look at the laws and perhaps do something different,” said Gallivan.
The state legislature will be back in session on Monday morning, and Senator Gallivan will be in Albany to get support for his bill. He hopes to push it through in the coming months.