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Low-level sex offender monitoring by state coming to an end

A bill to extend supervision of low-level sex

A bill to extend supervision of low-level sex offenders for another decade failed to gain approval in the Legislature in 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler

ALBANY

By the end of this year, 1,359 of the state’s lowest-risk sex offenders will be removed from the state’s public registry and no longer monitored by the state after a bill to extend supervision for another decade failed to gain approval in one house of the legislature.

The Senate’s Republican majority and the Assembly’s Democratic majority said this week that they agree on the need for a bill that would extend 20-year monitoring. Another round of negotiations could resume when they return to Albany for the 2017 session in January, after the legislative elections.

Level 1 offenders are deemed by the court to be the least likely to commit a repeat offense. Such offenders this year started to pass the 20-year period during which they were monitored after their convictions and sentencing. The monitoring period was set in the 1996 Sex Offender Registration Act.

A judge uses many factors to determine risk, but Level 1 offenders can include offenders convicted of felony sex crimes.

“They should not be removed from the registry,” said Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue), sponsor of the Assembly bill, which was passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate. He said Level 1 offenders are being released from supervision because the Assembly failed to act on his bill.

“We actually made adjustments we felt would be more of a compromise and certainly I’d be willing to talk about further input from Assembly members,” said Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Oyster Bay), who sponsored the bill that passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

“The important thing is to get the bill passed ... N> ,” Venditto said. “Residents have a right to know.”

The state Department of Criminal Justice Services has notified police and district attorney’s offices in the jurisdictions where such offenders were arrested and where they last reported their address, and the information is accessible to the public. Once the offenders leave supervision, the public will not have access to information about their whereabouts.

Assembly majority spokesman Michael Whyland said the chamber recognizes “the danger to our communities posed by sex offenders, especially sexually violent offenders who commit predatory acts.

“The protection of the public from these offenders is a major concern to the Assembly majority,” Whyland said.

As of this month, New York has 39,126 registered sex offenders, including 14,564 in Level 1.

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