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Jan 31, 2013 1:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Suffolk County Legislature Unanimously Approves New Homeless Sex Offender Housing Plan

Feb 6, 2013 12:48 PM

UPDATE: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a bill Tuesday evening that supporters say will create the strongest sex offender monitoring program in the nation and will close the two trailers housing homeless sex offenders in Southampton Town.

Under the new law, dubbed the Community Protection Act, the homeless sex offenders will instead be placed at one of the county’s existing shelters at the discretion of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services commissioner, with no more than one offender per facility and offenders kept separate from families.

The Suffolk County Police Department, which developed the proposal at the direction of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, will work closely with Parents for Megan’s Law, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of sexual abuse, to monitor and spread information about the county’s roughly 1,000 registered sex offenders.

Southampton Town residents urged the legislators to support the bill during a public hearing Tuesday afternoon. They have long expressed their exasperation with the placement of the trailers, a burden they said they have had to shoulder for far too long.

“It’s inappropriate, it’s unjust to concentrate them-in a minority area I might add,” said Vince Taldone, vice president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association. “It’s wrong and it needs to be stopped.”

Amol Sinha, president of the Suffolk County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, also attended the hearing to speak out against the bill for its “misinformation about sexual assault and the context in which such crimes take place.” He also criticized Mr. Bellone for introducing the bill with a certificate of necessity, which allowed it to bypass committees and be put up for an immediate vote.

“The use of a Certificate of Necessity to hastily overhaul the county’s sex offender management plan sacrifices democracy for expedience, and prevents a meaningful debate on the law’s merits,” he said.

County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who represents the South Fork, said the new program will prohibit sex offenders from being clustered in any one community, while increasing public safety.

“I was not expecting everybody to support this—I was expecting several people to oppose it,” he said. “It’s the first time in what has been a very contentious issue where we have had universal support.”

It could be a few more months before the trailers are actually removed from Southampton, he added.

As part of the proposed program, Suffolk County would sign a contract with Parents For Megan’s Law at a maximum cost of $900,000 each year for up to three years. The organization would then work to establish a system to verify that registered sex offenders are living where they say that they are, as well as a monitoring system and a way for members of the community to report when sex offenders violate the law. Their efforts would also include a new community alert system, crime victim services, community outreach and prevention education services.

The Suffolk County Police Department would be responsible for strengthening address verification efforts and for ensuring that patrol officers receive accurate information, including photos, addresses, driver registration and intelligence reports, for each registered sex offender.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said she too was surprised at the unanimous vote, but said it was a positive sign that the legislators saw it as a regional issue.

“It’s a positive sign for local government in that these are the issues that shouldn’t be political,” she said. “I’m hoping that this is the spirit in which we can move together on a lot of things that need to be dealt with regionally. I’m very encouraged by that.”

Original Story:

In an abrupt change of course, Suffolk County officials announced on Thursday that after closing a pair of trailers in Southampton Town they will house all of their homeless sex offenders in existing homeless shelters across the county.

The new plan was unveiled in Hauppauge by Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke and Laura Ahearn, the executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law, whose organization will be contracted to help in its implementation and the tracking of the homeless offenders.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who promised as part of his election campaign two years ago to close the trailers in Westhampton and Riverside that have housed all of the county’s homeless sex offenders since 2006, did not attend the meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature Public Safety Committee. Previously, the county had been working on a different plan that called for the closing the trailers and housing the homeless sexual offenders in six new shelters that would be equally spread out across Suffolk, with no more than six offenders residing in one place at one time.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jan 31, 13 3:54 PM
Malone said "Its going to take the political will of an entire horseshoe" ??!!?!!!?? Say what? I don't know anything about political horseshoes but I have a pretty good idea where to find the horses azz.
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Feb 2, 13 6:24 AM
The "horseshoe" refers to the shape of the table that the legislators sit at.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 6, 13 12:54 AM
Under the new law, dubbed the Community Protection Act, the homeless sex offenders will instead be placed at one of the county’s existing shelters.

Oh boy sounds like Hidden Cove is getting some new tenants,

Maybe HHS can defend them as well now that they are closer to home.
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Feb 5, 13 8:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is this solving the problem??? Perhaps we should locate these individuals
in a special care facility and housed in one place not in our communities.
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Feb 6, 13 1:47 AM
How about Plum Island??? All in one place!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Feb 6, 13 8:50 AM
nah - they don't deserve to live in such a beautiful place. If I can't get clearance to go over there - they certainly shouldn't!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 6, 13 9:07 AM
I think the plum Island Idea is excellent, I would go one better, Take any repeat offender and put a bracelet on their ankle, Then give them a small hut with a few solar panels on the island. deliver seeds water and basic provisions from time to time and let them fend for themselves.They could raise chickens and livestock start there own little world, who cares. They would have proven they were not fit to live in our society so let them govern themselves for better or worse. But I guess the corrections ...more
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Feb 6, 13 5:09 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By JoeLow, on Nov 2, 14 5:27 AM