"He shouldn't be in a situation that presents a dilemma like this," said Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), one of the protest organizers. "The purpose of the rally was to let the state know that we still want him moved to a better location, better for the community and better for him."
In January, residents learned that a 20-year-old registered sex offender who was found guilty of abusing two boys, aged 5 and 8, moved into the Seville co-op in the Water's Edge buildings in Bay Terrace. The charges against him were filed in September 2000, and he was convicted in February 2001 and sentenced to three years in jail.
Because many school-aged children call that apartment complex home, Avella along with state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) wrote a letter Dec. 17 to the Parole Board requesting the offender be relocated.
Since then, Avella said, the board has imposed additional sanctions on the abuser, ranging from his being required to wear an ankle bracelet to track his movements to his being forced to leave an elevator as soon as a child steps on.
"We appreciate the additional restrictions that have been put on him, the ankle bracelet, et cetera," Avella said. "If he is on the elevator and he stops at a floor where a child gets on, he must step off immediately."
But despite the elevator sanctions, Avella pointed out that "the state is relying on him to self-monitor himself."
Residents oppose the presence of the sex offender on the grounds that there is a school and library nearby as well as children living in the building. About 25 people rallied last weekend.
"We feel that since the very beginning this was an inappropriate location for him to be placed," Avella said.
The offender is listed as high risk and is subject to a treatment program as well as a curfew, according to the conditions listed on the New York State Sex Offender Registry Web page. He is not allowed to have contact with children under 18 years old unless in the company of an adult over 21 and with permission from a supervisor.
Lawmakers said the Parole Division did not properly notify the residents, the building's management or nearby PS 169 to alert them to the presence of the sex offender.
"Criteria by which regular law calls for was not followed," he said. "It was only after I got involved that the community was notified."
Representatives from the Parole Board could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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