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Village seeks end to sex-offender loophole

Massapequa Park is an incorporated village in the

Massapequa Park is an incorporated village in the Town of Oyster Bay on the South Shore of Long Island in Nassau County. The village has a population of 17,008, according to the 2010 U.S. Cenus. (July 21, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

In an effort to strengthen the village's sex offender laws, Massapequa Park officials on Monday will weigh removing a clause that permits some registered offenders to return to "established residences or domiciles" after their stints behind bars.

"We are looking to carve out that exemption," Mayor James Altadonna Jr. said in an interview yesterday. "We have no tolerance for criminals or pedophiles that prey on children."

According to current village code, registered sex offenders may not live within a one-mile radius of a school, park or other offender -- the village is 2.2 square miles -- but those who had homes within those boundaries before 2009, when the legal article was adopted, are exempt.

Altadonna said he hopes to remove the exemption entirely on Monday, when a public hearing on the code amendment is scheduled.

The vote on whether to adopt the changes could come as early as Monday, he said.

The village's restrictions on registered offenders are already stricter than those imposed by New York State and those of other municipalities.

"We have a very stringent law and we're trying to tighten it a little more," Altadonna said. "It's my opinion that anyone who preys on children should remain in jail for the rest of their lives."

State law does not restrict where offenders can live, though offenders on parole or probation might be limited by separate terms, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Many municipalities have passed laws preventing offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools and other properties where children congregate.

Altadonna cited no single impetus behind his proposal, but said he noticed a trend.

"Over the course of several years, we had individuals coming back after we were successful in having them move on," he said.

The village works closely with code enforcement officers, parole officers and neighbors to monitor offenders, he said.

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