ALBANY – Senator James Skoufis and Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson have introduced legislation to close a loophole in the existing law and prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a child care provider, a preschool, or any place where pre-kindergarten or kindergarten instruction is provided. This announcement comes in response to the current placement of released high-risk sex offenders being temporarily housed at Orange Lake Motel in the Town of Newburgh, a few hundred feet away from a child care center.
The bill that Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Jacobson introduced (Bill S.4891) prohibits sex offenders whose victim was a child and level three sex offenders from knowingly being within 1,000 feet of a child care provider, preschool or any pre-kindergarten or kindergarten; this also includes other classified sex offenders where the criminal act was with a minor. This legislation was developed based on conversations Skoufis and Jacobson’s offices had with state agencies, local law enforcement, the daycare, and the parents of children who attend.
Due to the time sensitivity of the situation, Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Jacobson are also calling on the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Orange County Department of Social Services to remove the Orange Lake Motel from its list of temporary housing locations for convinced sex offenders who are now released. This would immediately remove the individuals in the motel from that location.
“No parent should ever have to drop their child off at daycare and simultaneously be filled with the anxiety that their child could be in harm’s way,” said Senator Skoufis. “That’s why I’m going to continue fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure that state agencies remove these individuals from this location, and that our bill passes so that this doesn’t happen in the future. My gratitude goes out to local law enforcement, vocal community members, and Assemblyman Jacobson for their continued and coordinated efforts in resolving this issue.”
Assemblymember Jacobson said, “This is a situation that common sense dictates should never have occurred. Senator Skoufis and I are moving forward to address the situation, both short-term by working to relocate these men and long-term by permanently correcting the situation through new legislation. I am grateful to members of the Newburgh community for alerting us to the fact that registered sex offenders are being housed in such close proximity to Building Blocks Nursery School.”
Manette Bowman, whose grandchild attends Building Blocks Child Care and who organized an online petition garnering thousands of signatures said, “We must do everything possible to protect our children. I started this petition because my grandchild attends this daycare and it concerns not only me, but thousands of members of the community, that these individuals are housed across the street from where our children are every day. I thank Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Jacobson for continuing to push the state to remove these individuals from this location and hope their legislation passes as soon as possible.”
Maria Marino, the Owner of Building Blocks Child Care said, “I join Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Jacobson in their call on the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and County Department of Social Services to remove the motel from their list of housing options. I thank everyone, from the lawmakers to the parents and community members, for their help in rectifying this issue.”
Both offices will keep everyone informed about the location status of the offenders.