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Ortt: Protect victims, schools from sexual predators

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Mon, Feb 23rd 2015 11:00 am

New York Court of Appeals: Localities can't prohibit where sex offenders live

State Sen. Robert Ortt has announced legislation (S.2069) that will prohibit sex offenders from living near schools or in close proximity to their victims. Ortt said this legislation, which he is co-sponsoring, is even more critical after the New York State Court of Appeals ruled local governments do not have the authority to restrict where sex offenders can live.

"Protecting our communities from the most horrific of criminals should be among the most basic functions of government," Ortt said. "Unfortunately, current law allows serious sex offenders to reside next door to schools, or live across the street from their victims. This legislation will address this blatant gap and the serious concerns of law enforcement, schools, parents and victims."

Ortt's legislation would prohibit Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from residing within 1,500 feet of their victim; entering or residing within 1,500 feet of school grounds; and from attending or participating in school events or activities. Violators would face a class E felony charge, punishable by up to one to four years in prison. The bill has been referred to the Senate crime victims, crime and correction committee. 

Ortt also is sponsoring legislation to clarify the definition of residency to as it pertains to sex offenders. Currently, offenders can register at a primary address, but spend significant time elsewhere, violating the original intent of reporting requirement laws.

Ortt said he expects the Senate to take this measure up, as well as a host of other public protection initiatives, this legislative session.

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