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Quiet Gates neighborhood concerned over new sex offender neighbors

February 01, 2019 06:43 PM

GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A quiet, dead-end street in Gates is now home to 20 percent of all the level 2 and 3 registered sex offenders in the zip code. 

That’s why neighbors are upset. They're also upset because it's the state that is moving them in. 

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There has been a state-run group home in that neighborhood for three decades but now, there are at least four registered sex offenders living there. 

Three of them are level 2 offenders. That means the state thinks they're a moderate risk. 

"I don't see a safe place anymore for our street," said Zach Young, neighbor. 

Zach Young and Michael Chefalo are neighbors. 

"I just wonder how these decisions can be made in a vacuum," said Chefalo. "This isn't about the group home. I don't feel any malice towards the group home. It's an issue with the numbers. I realize there are sexual offenders scattered throughout this community but the operative word there is scattered." 

Young has a four-month-old baby. 

"My concern is raising a child in a neighborhood that could potentially have sexual predators or offenders living on the street," added Young.

The home is run by the The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services says letters notified Gates Police that level 2 sex offenders were moving in. 

Here is the statement from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services: 

"The New York State Sex Offender Registry notifies police agencies whenever an offender moves into – or out of – their jurisdiction or if there are changes to any of the other information an offender is required to report. These notifications are sent electronically whenever the Registry is updated.  All police agencies can also access the entire Sex Offender Registry 24/7 to identify offenders who live within their jurisdiction."

Two letters came in January including one on Wednesday.

The sex offender registry says both of those men sexually assaulted children under 15. 

One is mandated to "stay away from areas where children congregate."

There is a church and a playground at the end of the street. That's where Young and Chefalo met with the Gates Police chief and town supervisor. 

"If you look at this community, it's a lot of young families with young kids, newlywed people just starting. Their first house and stuff like that. And of all places to put it, common sense would tell you this wouldn't be the best neighborhood," said Chief Jim Vanbrederode, Gates Police.

"We want to protect our residents. I'm here to protect our residents and make sure they're safe," said Cosmo Giunta, Gates town supervisor:

OPWDD provided News10NBC with the following statement: 

"We understand the community's concerns and want to provide assurance that the safety and security of the individuals we support and the community at large are our greatest priorities, and all measures possible are taken to ensure this safety." 

"All of a sudden we've seen people moving out and new people moving in and now the number has gone from two to four and we don't know where it's going to stop," added Chefalo. 

The three sex offenders, that are considered level 2, are all from outside Monroe County. 

The chief and the supervisor are talking about having a neighborhood meeting. 

If they do, we'll be there. 

WHECTV

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