Following the alarming news of eight registered sex offenders allegedly placed at a Bayside motel, local elected officials on Thursday called for immediate removal of the individuals by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
Standing in front of the Anchor Inn Motel, located at 215-34 Northern Blvd., state Senator John Liu joined by Assembly members Nily Rozic and Ed Braunstein and Councilman Paul Vallone addressed concerned residents at the site, where families take their children to a day care center across the street.
“We are extremely concerned to learn about the eight registered sex offenders placed in the Anchor Motor Inn last week by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision,” said Rozic. “The Inn, located on Northern Boulevard is diagonally across the street from an Academy of Early Education. As the safety of our community and our children is paramount, we urge DOCCS to find immediate alternative housing for these individuals.”
The eight registered sex offenders are listed on the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services sex offender registry. They are men who range in age from 33 to 66. Four of the individuals were said to be level 3, sexually violent offenders.
“It’s always a cause for concern when sex offenders are placed in a community, but it becomes truly alarming when their crimes are particularly heinous and violent,” said Vallone, whose office has been receiving phone calls about the issue. “Several of the offenders placed at the Anchor Inn have been convicted of sex crimes against children and the elderly, and placing them in direct proximity to a pre-K and elementary schools in unacceptable.”
According to the Department of Criminal Justice, the Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live. However, if the offender is under parole or probation supervision, other New York state laws may limit the offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other facility caring for children.
In a statement to QNS, a DOCCS spokesman confirmed that the men were recently re-located to the Anchor Inn, which is compliant with the state’s Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA) restrictions, following the closure of their previous transitional housing by New York City agencies.
“To date, the individuals have abided by their conditions of supervision, which include reporting any change in residence. The Department’s parole officers will continue to actively supervise these individuals and impose any special conditions required, in accordance with the law and agency policy,” the DOCCS said.
According to Liu, the motel has claimed they have removed the individuals, stating they had no knowledge about the matter and that the Red Cross potentially placed them at the site on an emergency basis.
Residents, who claim the motel has been operating as a halfway house for years, expressed multiple issues with the site and lack of communication with the owner.
“We don’t know for sure but we feel as though they must be operating it either as a halfway house or half hotel,” said Lina, who withheld her last name for privacy concerns. “Many times we have reached out to the hotel about problems that we’re having with their guests walking up the block, doing drugs in front of our houses. “If [the hotel owner] has a contract with the Corrections Department, what other criminals are in here that we have to know about that there’s no database for? We don’t know who else is in there, and when we’ve reached out to them and tried to go inside, they’ve thrown us out.”
Another resident, who has been living in the neighborhood for 71 years, said she has never encountered a situation until now.
“I used to walk at night but I’m not going to walk now,” she said. “No way I’m not going to walk.”
The local lawmakers said they’re continuing to further investigate the matter and are seeking accountability of the placement of the individuals.
“Nothing can be more alarming than news that violent sex offenders have been placed in your community, including parolees who have attacked children,” said Liu. “Worse yet, these placements appear to be in clear violation of state law. Nothing trumps the safety and security for our families, especially the protection of young children, and these individuals must be moved out immediately. We also demand a clear accounting of how this happened in the first place so it doesn’t get repeated.”