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Meeting filled with Gates families concerned over sex offenders

February 04, 2019 11:52 PM

GATESN.Y. (WHEC) -- Four sex offenders are calling one Gates neighborhood home and now families are demanding action. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean broke the story Friday involving a group home home on Lettington Avenue. 

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It was placed there by the state of New York. 

On Monday night, families addressed the Gates Town Board about the issue with one mom saying there are 40 children under the age of 17 living on the road.

"They would not be able to supervise these individuals to the level that is needed," said the worried mom. 

"That group home has been in our neighborhood for 40 years and we consider many of the residents as our neighbors but now we find there have been four registered sex offenders that moved in," said neighbor Michael Chefalo.

Three of them are level two offenders, meaning they're a moderate risk.

Police Chief James VanBrederode says, like the families, his department was blindsided. 

"We did not have any heads up this was occurring," said the chief.  

VanBrederode tells News10NBC an aide working in the home claims the state is replacing all the current residents with sex offenders. 

On Monday, town officials handed out the phone number for Greg Roberts who is the director of New York state's Bureau of Intergovernmental Affairs. 

They urged families to call him with their complaints. 

"I, for one, am pretty angry what the state is doing without notifying us," said Town Board Member Steve Tucciarello. "I want all of you to get ahold of that contact to voice your opinion." 

For Gates families that didn't attend the meeting, the number provided was 518-473-1997.

The town board and the chief told families that they are working to get in touch with the state and with the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office.

According to Chief VanBrederode, he hasn't been successful in getting any calls back. 

Finger Lakes DDSO was closed Monday evening when News10NBC tried to reach out for comment.

There is a bill that aims to prevent sex offenders from living in group homes.

It passed the state Senate in 2018 but failed in the state Assembly because it had no sponsor. 

On Monday, Assemblyman Stephen Hawley says if there is still no sponsor from the Assembly from the bill, he plans to do it.

There is also a New York state law that makes it illegal to endanger the "welfare of an incompetent/physically disabled person." 

News10NBC reached out to the Attorney General's Office to learn if what's happening is legal under that law but have not heard back.   

Credits

Beth Cefalu

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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