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The state Court of Appeals threw out a Nassau County law that kept all sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, arguing that the state's restrictions on those convicted of sex crimes pre-empt local measures.
LaFountain said the state law is full of holes that leaves large pockets of the community unprotected-- like parks, playgrounds, sports complexes and recreation centers.
Residency restrictions outlined by the state only apply to level three sex offenders, who are considered to be the most likely to commit a new offense. According to state law, level three sex offenders are prohibited from living within 1,000 ft. of a school or daycare while on parole or supervised release, but when that sentence expires, there are no restrictions.
"That is absolutely crazy, that is absolutely is crazy." LaFountain said, "So because we are not a school and because we are not a daycare you allow a level 2 or a level 3, in this case a level three take up residency right across the street from this complex." LaFoutain said the holes in the state law were highlighted when a level three sex offender registered at an address less than 200 ft. from a park which is home to the town's little league teams and not far from Town Hall.
The case centered on Michael Diack, a Nassau man who was convicted of possessing child pornography in 2001 and moved within 500 feet of two schools in 2008. A level 1 offender, Diack had already served his prison sentence and was no longer on parole at the time he moved.
Nassau County's law, which was enacted in 2006, applied to all sex offenders.
New York's law prohibits level 3 offenders and those on parole and probation from knowingly entering school grounds or being in a parked car within 1,000 feet. The courts have interpreted that to mean they can't live within 1,000 feet of a school, either.
"Some local governments, based on unique circumstances, believe additional safety requirements are in order," Acquario said in a statement. "The court ruling prohibits these additional local safeguards."