New law could prevent sex offenders in group homes

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – From West Seneca to Newstead, residents are furious over sex offenders being placed in suburban group homes. It’s an issue that’s been brewing for months and now state lawmakers are taking action.

After being approved in the State Senate, a bill making it illegal for sex offenders to live in group homes has moved on to the Assembly and could be voted on over the next week.

“You find out that you have sex offenders, pedophiles right down the street from you that’s a very uneasy feeling,” said Mary K. Ross, who lives on Leydecker Road.

Ross has two young sons. Since she found sex offenders live in a group home just down the street from her, it’s changed their way of life.

“It’s a constant, ‘Oh my gosh, where are my children?’” said Ross.

She says she lives in the suburbs so her boys can run free, but now she says she’s trapped.

“Now I stop what I’m doing and if they want to come outside, we come outside. We all come outside. You can’t just say, ‘Okay I’ll be out in a minute,’” said Ross.

These new neighbors also have Arnold Kramer’s wife worried.

“She’s concerned that they’re down there, they’re so close there are so many kids in the neighborhood. Also that when she’s home alone, which is quite often, that she could be bothered,” said Kramer.

The chance of her being bothered may not be a concern any longer if a new bill passes that would prevent registered sex offenders from living in a group home. It’s sponsored by Senator Mike Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Mickey Kearns.

“It’s very difficult sometimes to get really good bills passed and I think it’s just despicable that sometimes people sit on their hands literally and don’t pass bills that will be beneficial to the citizens of the state of New York,” said Kearns.

Kearns says it’s important to pass it, to not only protect nearby neighbors, but also the other people living in the group homes.

“Here we are, we’re going to possibly place criminals with our most vulnerable population, it just doesn’t make sense,” said Kearns.

The bill passed in the Senate 55-2. It will have to go through the Rules Committee before the State Assembly can vote on it.

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