North Collins residents voice concerns about relocation of sex offenders

NORTH COLLINS, N.Y. (WIVB)- Neighbors are concerned after the state relocated two sex offenders to North Collins. They were moved from a home in West Seneca.

Dozens of residents packed, elbow to elbow, into a town meeting to make it clear these men are not welcome in their town etiher.

“Nobody is safe with those guys living there,” said Tina Sweet, who has an 11 year old son.

Sweet said the kids of North Collins are essentially being locked up now that two sex offenders are being housed on Gowanda State Road.

“We used to be able to let our kids drive their bikes to their friends house, they’d come up to the store and buy candy, we can’t do that anymore,” said Sweet. “We aren’t safe anymore.”

Sweet gathered with other residents at the special board meeting to voice concerns and ask about security at the home. It’s located less than a mile from the town park.

“The people that take care of them, are they trained for this? I don’t think they are,” said one resident at the podium.

The two sex offenders were both convicted for crimes against young girls.

One of the men, Christopher Eckert, is a level three, violent sex offender. Level three is the designation for sex offenders with the highest risk of recidivism.

The other man, William Maund, is a level two offender.

Town supervisor John Tobia said they weren’t warned sex offenders could live at the Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled home, when they toured it prior to opening.

“They didn’t tell anyone and they lied right to our face that they’re not going to be there, so we’re mad with you,” said Tobia.

CSDD released a statement that said they understand neighbors’ concerns but out of the 1,600 people they serve, fewer than 10 are sex offenders. The organization said it places people under the direction of the state.

The two other residents at this home are not sex offenders.

“Those people shouldn’t be housed in the same house as people with development disabilities,” said Chrissy Ball, who spoke out against having the sex offenders housed in the town.

CSDD said the facility will be staffed 24/7.

There wasn’t anyone from the NYS Office of for People with Developmental Disabilities at the meeting.

The State Senate passed a bill this session, co-sponsored by Senator Patrick Gallivan, to ban registered sex offenders from living in community homes that also house people with developmental disabilities.

The bill is in committee in the Assembly but session ends this week.

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