WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents in West Seneca are on edge, yet again, after two police calls this weekend to group homes that house registered sex offenders.
For months, neighbors on Leydecker Road have been outraged over sex offenders being moved in so closed to their homes and families. They want the offenders moved out, and they were told it would happen by the end of last month. But right now there is no timeline to move the sex offenders out of those homes and seven registered sex offenders are still there.
Most summers, the children growing up on Leydecker Road spend days playing in the trees surrounding their homes. But not this summer.
“Not feeling safe letting the kids play outside, going to the park, riding their bike like they normally would any other summer,” said Krissy Pittner, a mother who lives near the group homes.
Of the seven men in the state-owned group homes, four of them have raped or sexually abused children 8 years old or younger. According to the state sex offender registry, one of them has recently changed his appearance.
The state moved the men to the two homes, without warning the neighbors, six months ago when the federal government shut a secure facility near Rochester down.
According to the non-profit group contracted to supervise the men, the federal government made the call because it considers them to be developmentally disabled first and sex offenders second.
“It’s garbage. We’re getting no help. Especially from the state,” said Fran Gray, a father of five who lives down the street.
“They’re only a thousand feet from a playground,” said long-time neighbor Matt Nycek.
Since they moved in, there have been dozens of police responses to the two group homes. And on Saturday, neighbors were startled to find officers trying to coax a resident out of the nearby trees. Police say the man was sex offender Greg Tyman. He was returned to the group home without charges.
When neighbors first voiced their outrage over this situation, they thought they’d see results.
“In the first couple months there were all kinds of meetings. We were told by [West Seneca Town Supervisor] Sheila Meegan that by June these guys were going to be gone,” Gray said.
June has come and gone and the sex offenders are still there – and not leaving anytime soon. The state has stalled funding for a new facility, leaving a very hopeless feeling on Leydecker Road.
“I have a feeling there is going to be no resolution to this whatsoever. I have a feeling this is going to be a pedophile dumping zone,” Gray said.
Mark Foley, the executive director of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, said when they agreed to supervise the men, there were plans to build a new facility to house them in a more remote area. However, funding for that plan has been stalled.
Foley said it would take six months from the time they receive approval to move the men out.
Senator Patrick Gallivan introduced a bill that would require the state to notify towns before moving in sex offenders. However, that bill has stalled in a Senate committee.