Created: 04/30/2014 5:39 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen
When you check yourself into a motel, you don't always know who is in the room next door. News10NBC discovered families who need help are being placed in the same motel as sex offenders. One woman said she was living in fear.
The woman thought she was receiving a helping hand from Genesee County Social Services, but instead, she was placed in a vulnerable situation along with her young children. She went to the county, but says they didn't do anything about it.
So News10NBC went to the motel on East Main Street in Batavia. We spoke with a woman who says she was shocked to find out the county she relied on to help her find temporary shelter placed her and three children in the motel among convicted sexual predators.
When the woman was evicted from her home last summer, she says Genesee County provided her and her three girls she was caring for with temporary housing. They were placed in the motel on the west side of Batavia. She soon discovered that staying just a couple doors down was a registered sex offender. She asked News10NBC not to identify her by her real name to protect the children. News10NBC is calling her “Jill”.
“Jill” said, “It was policy. We didn't have a choice. We didn't have a choice. This is where they place homeless families."
That policy hasn’t changed. At the motel right now is at least one family with small children who say they were placed there by Genesee County Department of Social Services. A check of the state sex offender registry finds there are also three high risk, or level three sex offenders, living at the motel with convictions for rape, attempted rape and sexual abuse. “Jill” says for her, it was two months of living in fear.
“Jill” said, “I think I was more afraid for the girls than I was for me. I'm able to protect myself. I didn't always feel like I was able to protect the girls."
News10NBC wanted to speak to someone at Genesee County Social Services about their placement policy, but no one from the office returned our phone calls Wednesday.
“Jill” said, “I think their obligation is to place us in safe housing. If they know they are placing sex offenders here, which they do because they pay for them, then they need to find appropriate housing for families that are in question or in need and they don't do that."
The owner of the motel did not want to speak on camera, but he did acknowledge they do house homeless families and sex offenders alike, but says they have never had any problems.