Pol’s Bill Expands Predator Ban
A state lawmaker representing Queens is trying to put the squeeze on sex offenders living near playgrounds.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has introduced legislation that would bar Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within 500 feet of any park with a playground.
“As a parent of two young children, I understand how critical it is that we create stronger laws to keep sexual predators out of areas where our children congregate and play,” Goldfeder said in a statement. “I drafted this new legislation to ensure that sex offenders stay out of our public parks and away from our children.”
Existing legislation only bars such offenders from living within 1,000 of a school. No regulation exists for parks that are not aligned with schools, according to Goldfeder.
When two registered sex offenders moved into a singleoccupancy residence (formerly a halfway house) on Beach 116th Street, it sparked outrage throughout the beach community.
The new legislation would tweak an existing law to prevent registered sex offenders-including those convicted of molesting, abusing or raping a child-from living within 500 feet of any park with a playground.
Parents lauded the move.
“On behalf of Rocakaway parents, I applaud Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for his quick action and response to our genuine concerns about the safety and wellbeing of our children,” said Irene Dougherty, PTA co-president of The Belle Harbor School, P.S. 114. “It’s nice to know that Goldfeder not only represents us, but that he truly listens to us as well. As a mother of three young boys, I’m happy to know that our assemblyman is watching out for their safety.”
And park advocates echoed parents’ support.
“As advocate for the rebuilding and development of Frank Charles Park as well as a mother and grandmother living in the community, I believe it is not only important to make our parks beautiful, but also to make them safe and secure from adults who prey upon our defenseless children,” said Dorothy McCloskey, director of Friends of Charles Park. “I support any legislation that can help secure the safety of our community.”