Bay Terrace residents learn about perv next door

When Lisa Cotoggio bought an apartment 10 years ago in one of the affluent Bay Club buildings in Bayside, a “Level 2” registered sex offender was already living there. However, Cotoggio and other residents said that they had no idea about their neighbor until they found out that another sex offender had moved into the apartment complex earlier this year.
“It’s amazing that no one is aware of it, and it’s such a nice area and they [sex offenders] are living among us,” Cotoggio said, explaining that she had received an anonymous note under her door alerting her.
Afterward, she visited the site, www.familywatchdog.org, a company that performs Internet searches of sex offenders. Visitors can register to receive email alerts for a fee.
On a map of Bay Terrace, she spotted several stars, indicating sex offenders in the area, and Cotoggio said she wished that she and other residents had learned earlier about her neighbors.
“I have three nieces and nephews that are 11. What happens if they come to my apartment?” she said. “There are a lot of elderly people in the building whose grandchildren come and stay with them constantly.”
Cotoggio alerted several of her elected representatives - State Senator Toby Stavisky and City Councilmember Tony Avella - in order to spread the word.
“It’s important for people to know who is living in their neighborhood,” Avella said.
Stavisky, who said she is in support of a new state bill to send out email alerts about sex offenders, said, “We receive emails about our credit cards and all sorts of aspects. There is no reason why we can’t be notified when a sex offender moves in.”
By law, the building’s management is not required to alert residents about sex offenders. Requests for comment to the management office were not returned by press time.
And according to the state sex offender registry, anyone who uses information from the site to harass or commit a criminal act may be subject to criminal prosecution.
“We know that we can’t force anyone to move … What we want is for everybody to be notified,” Cotoggio said.
Recently, the second offender did move out, residents said.
However, the original resident, a 60-year-old man who was convicted of sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl in 1995, remains in the building, according to the state sex offender registry. In addition, a 52-year-old offender, who was convicted of raping and sodomizing a female in 1982, is listed on the registry as living down the block.
“When someone is classified as a Level 2 or Level 3 offender the likelihood is that they will commit the crime again,” Stavisky said. “Fortunately, the Bay Club resident has not been involved with the law,” since his original conviction.

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