Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Senator Timothy M. Kennedy announced Monday that the State Senate has passed legislation to prevent dangerous sex offenders from abusing or evading state registry requirements.
According to a news release:
This package of bills will make it tougher to dodge the residence-registration rules established in the sex offender registry act.
The bills, which Senator Kennedy cosponsored, will help keep children safe by giving law enforcement the tools to crackdown on sex offenders who fail to fully register all residence information. It also enables prosecutors to pursue criminal cases against individuals who allow violent sex offenders to evade registration and tracking.
“Our state’s sex offender registry has been an effective tool in our efforts to protect our neighborhoods and our children from predators. However, there are gaps in the law that we must address to ensure New York State does an even better job of keeping children safe,” said Senator Kennedy. “The legislation the Senate passed takes aim at dangerous sex offenders who attempt to dodge residence registration requirements. These measures will ensure complete information is available and allow law enforcement to crackdown on individuals who assist sex offenders in their attempts to evade registry rules.”
The Senate approved a measure (S.1194) to close an often-exploited loophole that allows sex offenders to register at one address but spend a considerable amount of time at another address. This bill improves the definition of residency within the sex offender registry act. Under this bill, residence will be defined as “any place of abode, domicile or inhabitance where a convicted sex offender spends or intends to spend more than two days a week.” This bill will force sex offenders to comply with the original intent of the law by ensuring the public is aware of any location where they spend a significant amount of time.
The Senate also passed legislation (S.3220) recently to prevent the harboring of sex offenders who fail to register with the state. Under this bill, an individual will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if they knowingly harbor, house or employ a sex offender who has to failed register and do not notify local law enforcement of the offender’s whereabouts. Because of the danger of repeat offenses – especially by high-risk sex offenders – laws must be enacted to require those who knowingly harbor a sex offender to tell authorities of the convicted offender’s location.
“Information is power when it comes to protecting our children,” Kennedy added. “This legislative initiative will empower law enforcement, community leaders and families with comprehensive information about the whereabouts of sex offenders – which will help us keep kids out of harm’s way.”
Together, this package of legislation will improve compliance with the sex offender registry act and enhance the safety of children in neighborhoods across the state. The bills now go to the Assembly for approval.