Posted at: 02/24/2014 7:19 PM
By: Brett Davidsen
News10NBC has an update on our New York State Exposed report about sex offenders being placed in group homes. It’s a story that has touched a nerve in communities throughout western New York. While in Buffalo Monday, the governor was again asked about the controversial issue.
News10NBC asked the governor last week during his visit to Rochester about sex offenders being moved from the closed Monroe Developmental Center in Brighton to group home settings. On Monday, after an announcement in Buffalo, Governor Cuomo was questioned again about the topic and seemed to take a more sympathetic tone.
It comes on the heels of a protest in West Seneca on Saturday in which an estimated 300 people showed up. Residents and their town supervisor learned from our initial report that seven convicted sex offenders with developmental disabilities had recently been relocated from MDC to two adjoining group homes in a residential neighborhood there.
But it isn't just West Seneca. News10NBC’s investigation found that a dozen medium and high risk sex offenders who were in a secure unit of the institution just prior to its closing were quietly relocated to group homes throughout the area. Two of them are living in a home on North Road in Scottsville.
Critics of the closure plan forewarned that many of the residents could be a danger to the community and themselves if removed from a secure setting where they also receive intense treatment. The governor acknowledged that placement of the offenders needs to be carefully considered.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "I understand why they would be nervous and why they would be upset. It's a real problem that we have. Sex offenders are released at one point when they are quote-unquote treated and deemed not at risk to society. But I totally understand the anxiety and the location should be appropriate."
The governor's office says any sex offender that poses a danger has been moved to another secure facility. Also, despite security concerns, state officials say the group homes have locks, alarms and trained supervision. The governor's office says it's important to point out these folks are in their care, not because they're criminals, but because they are developmentally disabled.