Zebrowski, Carlucci and Gromack Call for Stricter Residency Requirements for Sex Offenders

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Senator David Carlucci, and Supervisor Alex Gromack stand with daycare owners and concerned neighbors in Congers, NY

New City, N.Y. – Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D – New City), Senator David Carlucci, (D – Rockland/Westchester), Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack (D – Clarkstown), and Clarkstown residents hosted a press conference calling for stricter residency requirements for sex offenders.

Due to a loophole in New York State law, a Level 3 sex offender is currently legally residing approximately 175 feet from Nella Di Nuovo Daycare. The daycare facility is located on Lenox Avenue, in a residential area of Congers.

Assemblyman Zebrowski, Senator Carlucci, Supervisor Gromack, Nella Di Nuovo and other Clarkstown residents rallied in support of legislation that would prohibit sex offenders from residing 1,000 feet from a daycare facility.

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision interprets current law from prohibiting sex offenders from knowingly residing within 1,000 feet of school buildings and from knowingly traveling within 1,000 feet of school buildings, leaving daycare and pre-kindergarten facilities vulnerable to sexual predators.

Assemblyman Zebrowski’s has been pushing his legislation (A1658) in the Assembly will prohibit sex offenders from moving to a residence that is within 1000 feet of a day care center. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Carlucci (S3223A).

“The recent news of a level three sex offender moving just houses away from a daycare center has understandably left the community extremely concerned,” said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. “It is our responsibility to ensure that children are safe and that we do everything in our power to keep these dangerous predators away from them. When sex offenders are placed in our community there needs to be vigilant enforcement, transparency and communication to ensure that residents can better educate their children to the dangers of these individuals. We are actively pushing legislation that establishes reasonable residency restrictions surrounding childcare facilities. These common sense measures are necessary to keep our community, especially our children, safe.”

“As a new father, it’s unsettling to know that current law leaves our youngest children unprotected from some of the most violent and perverse criminals,” said Senator David Carlucci. “Unfortunately within eight years of their release, level three sex offenders were rearrested almost fifty percent of the time. Our children are our most precious asset and we need to do everything we can to keep them safe. We must close this loophole immediately.”

“As Town Supervisor I am outraged that known sex offenders can live in such close proximity to schools, daycare facilities, and playgrounds were our precious children learn and play,” said Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack. “As a former State Assemblyman, I realize the only way to achieve stricter residency standards is through state legislation and that is why I am here today supporting Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Zebrowski’s bills. It is obvious that local laws have been struck down by the highest court in the State, the Court of Appeals, so that is no longer an option. However, I am sponsoring a Town Board resolution requesting the State to enact legislation which would allow municipalities to enact their own legislation under home rule, should state legislation fail to be enacted.”

“I do not want him to be near the children,” said Nella Di Nuovo, owner of Nella Di Nuovo Daycare, a facility that is approximately 175 feet from the residence of the sex offender. “I want to feel safe, and we don’t right now.”

“I feel that we need to put legislation in place that protects our children,” said Annemarie Meehan, owner Guardian Angels Daycare. “This home was not vetted properly, the surrounding homes were not checked to see how many children lived here. The New York State Parole Board couldn’t even give local authorities a heads up, or even an explanation on how they came to the conclusion that this man was allowed to live in our neighborhood.”