WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – News 4 has learned controversial group homes that are housing sex offenders are not operated by the state, but by a non-profit agency.
The agency’s name is Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled. Executive director Mark Foley says the state placed those sex offenders in the two group homes in West Seneca, but their orders came from a higher power.
“The federal government said these are people with developmental disabilities first, and they do need to move out of an institution,” Foley said.
Foley says the seven registered sex offenders ended up at the two state-owned group homes on Leydecker Road because federal officials ordered the closure of the Monroe Developmental Center near Rochester where the sex offenders were formerly housed.
Foley says security is their top priority.
“All of the entrances and exits are alarmed – doors, windows. We have a very high, much higher than average, staffing ratio,” Foley said.
Placement of the sex offenders has stirred up protests and Western New York lawmakers have been demanding answers from state officials. Ironically, the two state-owned group homes are on the grounds of the former state-operated West Seneca Development Center, and the homes were re-opened to accomodate the former Monroe residents.
Foley says the houses had to be retrofitted for the higher security.
“Somebody tries to sneak out, an alarm goes off and we are going to intervene and talk with the person, and tell them, they really can’t leave. What would you like to do? If you would like to go for a walk, we will walk with you,” Foley said.
As far as notifying the community about the sex offenders moving in, Foley says they followed the letter of the law. Two days after the residents moved in, the staff took all seven men to the West Seneca Police station and registered them.
“They have received years of treatment and counseling, and therapy from very well-qualified professionals. At this point in time, they want to learn to be good people,” Foley said.
He adds the new federal mandates will lead to more developmental facilities being closed while state-owned group homes are also being closed. He says in the two months the sex offenders have been on Leydecker Road, no one has been harmed in any way.