WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Concerns of people in WNY who had sex offenders placed in group homes in their communities are now reaching the State Capitol.
Town officials in West Seneca are not taking a closer look at two group homes on Leydecker Road operated by the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities that have become targets of protests because registered sex offenders are housed there. Protesters say state officials were supposed to give them a heads-up before placing registered sex offenders in their neighborhood.
Meegan says state officials have assured her the homes are secure but she is leery.
“I don’t believe the security up there is sufficient,” she said. “This is not a safe situation, I don’t care how you want to play it out. It is wrong on so many levels.”
Townspeople are upset because the sex offenders are now living close to children and playgrounds at the group home and even Governor Andrew Cuomo sympathized with the protesters, when he was in Buffalo earlier this week.
“I totally understand the anxiety, and the location should be appropriate. Obviously they should not be in locations that would be an aggravating circumstance, considering their situation,” he said.
State lawmakers want to know why this happened, and are demanding answers from Developmental Disabilities’ acting commissioner Laurie Kelley.
Group homes for people with developmental disabilities have waiting lists and Assemblyman Michael Kearns wrote Kelley a letter, wondering if residents living in either of the two homes were displaced, when the sex offenders moved in.
“To move sex offenders ahead of those deserving law abiding citizens, it is just egregious, and to me it is an abomination that the state would even consider it,” Kearns said.
Protesters are also upset because the seven sex offenders in those group homes were moved from a secure state facility near Rochester that was closed.
West Seneca Police are stepping up their activity along Leydecker Road.