Press-Republican

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October 23, 2012

Forum addresses concerns about sex offenders

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers decided Monday that telling sex offenders where to live might not work and that educating children and adults to recognize abuse could be far more effective.

That was the consensus of a two-hour tri-county sex-abuse-prevention forum held in the Old Essex County Courthouse.

Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague, Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro and Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill attended, along with representatives of area school districts, probation departments, State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The meeting, Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) told those assembled, was prompted by questions from citizens “about how we share information, rules and regulations of sex-offender registry laws, how we make sure our children are safe from sex offenders.”

MOST ARE KNOWN

Officials said about 132 registered offenders live in Essex County, 200 in Clinton County and 140 in Franklin County.

New York state has three levels of convicted sex offenders: 1 is considered the least likely to do it again, 2 is moderate risk and 3 is high risk.

The State Division of Criminal Justice Services posts much information about Level 2 and 3 offenders on a website, though at present, according to that site, a lawsuit on behalf of some individuals bars their inclusion. A toll-free number is available to access their information, however. 

Level 2 offenders are registered for 20 years, along with a photo, zip code and possibly more information, Sprague said at the session.

Level 3 is a lifetime registry for sex offenders with the most personal information available, including address and details about the crime. 

It is a felony to fail to register.

Online information is not available about Level 1 offenders or those with a pending risk level. And while names and addresses cannot be acquired by phone either, callers can find out if a specific person is on the registry if they can provide the name and another identifier, such as exact address or birth date.

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