Contact: Josh Hills, 518-455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Expiration of Crucial Megan's Law Provision Could
Allow Thousands of Sex Offenders to Roam Freely

168 sex offenders set to be dropped from Megan's Law Registry
on January 21st, 3,579 by end of 2006

Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco and members of the Assembly Minority Conference today called on Assembly Majority members to join them in making an extension of the Megan's Law registration requirement a top priority for the 2006 session.

The ten-year registration mandate for certain Level 1 and Level 2 sex offenders is set to lapse beginning January 21, 2006, allowing 168 Level 1 and 2 sex offenders to be dropped from the registry on that day alone. By the end of the year, more than 3,500 sex offenders could be freed from the registry if the law is not amended.

"I don't think anyone can effectively argue against this being one of the most important issues to resolve in the beginning of the new session," said Leader Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga). "These predators must not be allowed to fly under the state's radar screen and have an opportunity to strike again."

Governor Pataki has proposed and the Senate has passed a measure that would require lifetime registration of all sex offenders. The Assembly Majority never allowed that bill to the floor for a vote.

"Mandating lifetime registration would forever resolve this issue," said Tedisco. "I do not understand why, but there seems to be an element of the Assembly Majority that is more concerned with the rights of criminals than the rights of victims. However, recent experience has shown that compromise is possible and this is an issue that needs to be resolved immediately."

Assemblyman Will Barclay's first action in his new role as Chair of the Minority Joint Conference Committee was to call on the Majority to convene a conference committee to produce uniform legislation.

"It is the responsibility of government to ensure the safety of all of its citizens, and Megan's Law provides parents and law enforcement with the tools they need to accomplish that," said Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski). "We cannot allow hundreds - possibly thousands - of sex offenders to slip through the cracks."

"The sexual abuse of a child is a despicable crime that can leave life-long emotional and psychological scars," said Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava (R,C,WF,I-Gouverneur), Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children and Women. "Now is the time to show the citizens of New York State that we have the collective will to protect our women and children."

"As with civil confinement, the extension of the Sex Offender Registry is an issue of great importance to all New York families," said Assemblyman David G. McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick), Vice Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children and Women. "When it comes to our children, we cannot agree to disagree. We need a resolution to this and we need it before January 21st."

"As a member of the Coalition of Parents that Care, I know how much families worry about their children being victimized by sexual predators," said Darlene Lee. "Requiring sex offenders to register for life would help parents, especially single parents, protect their children from harm."

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