At first, Joseph Duggan had no issue with a group home for the developmentally disabled that was opening next door to his Newstead home.
He told News 4, “We were prepared to embrace our new neighbors.”
But that quickly changed.
Duggan explained, “It wasn’t until the residents started to move in that we found out one of the residents is a Level 2 sex offender.”
It’s information the neighborhood is now outraged they didn’t know.
Duggan said, “My children are getting on a bus 100 feet down the road. I work in the City of Buffalo but we chose to purchase way outside the city to get away from threats and raise our family.”
The group home on Rapids Road in Newstead is run by non-profit organization People, Inc. The sex offender that lives there is from the now-closed Monroe Developmental Center in the Rochester area.
It’s the same facility that sent seven other sex offenders to two neighborhood homes in West Seneca. See more information on that story, as well as mug shots of all of the sex offenders who moved in there.
Kevin Borth is part of a newly formed group home committee in Newstead.
He said, “There needs to be a better notification process when there’s a sexual offender involved.”
Community members in both Newstead and West Seneca are asking lawmakers in Albany to take another look at the laws. They want better notification and more oversight.
“We don’t know what the criteria were that allowed these people to go from an inpatient to an outpatient setting. We know the Monroe Center was closed but how much due diligence was done to allow these people to come out into a public setting,” Borth questioned.
State Senator Patrick Gallivan agreed and told News 4 he’s taking steps to address the issue.
“There may be no legal reason to compel the state to move these individuals out of there, however, public response, government should listen to public response,” said Senator Gallivan.
There will be a public meeting on the issue at the Newstead Public Library February 19th at 7 p.m.
People Inc. has been very receptive to listening to concerns in the community and will be there to answer questions.