A sex offender on parole living too close to an Allerton school was forced to relocate recently.
Using a New York state database of sex offenders and its e-mail notification system, the community learned that the individual was living on Bronx Park East between Thwaits Place and Waring Avenue, near P.S. 96.
The offender, who was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, apparently had an unobstructed view of the school’s facilities from a courtyard at the rear of his building, 49th Precinct Community Affairs police officer David Lepore said.
When the situation came to light, and local law enforcement was contacted, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision had the offender, who was on parole, relocated.
State law prohibits the most serious sex offenders, and those whose crime involved children, from living within 1,000 feet of a school if they are on probation or parole.
Senator Jeff Klein helped to facilitate the relocation by contacting the 49th Precinct and DCCS after constituents reached out to him through the Bronx Park East Community Association, he said.
“This individual is listed as a dangerous sexual predator with a proclivity to violence, and his last victim was a 9-year-old,” said Klein, adding “I think they must do a better job in finding out where schools are located.”
The senator said that he helped author a state law that provides for e-mailed notification when the most serious sex offenders, those categorized as ‘Level 2’ and ‘Level 3,’ move into a zip code. He believes that this notification system helped alert the community.
“The Bronx Park East Community Association learned of it through the e-mail notification system I developed, contacted my office, and my office contacted the 49th Precinct,” said Klein.
The precinct learned in its investigation that the offender had not yet been assigned a parole officer when they made contact.
The communication between Klein’s office, the 49th Precinct and community leaders saved the day in this case, sources believe.
“It underscores the importance of community working well with elected officials (and police) in protecting our community, and especially our children,” said Lepore.
The president of the precinct’s community council, Joe Thompson, a retired NYPD detective who worked on child sex abuse cases, said that the situation ‘wakes people up’ to the dangers that our out there.
“We have plenty of young kids in the vicinity of the school and it is one of those things about which you have to stay vigilant,” said Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president, adding “You have to be aware that people like this person is out there, and there are a lot of them out there.”
He added that parents have to talk to their children about the dangers that exist from predators, not just once, but again and again.
Sex offenders often do not look any different than anyone else, he said.
Because of this it is sometimes easy for some offenders to lure unsuspecting children that are not aware of the danger, he said.