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Moving Sex Offenders Into Group Homes With Disabled 'Unacceptable,' GOP Candidate Molinaro Says

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. Photo Credit: Dutchess County Government

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, is calling on state officials to stop housing registered sex offenders in group homes with developmentally disabled individuals.

Reports released this week found that as many as 25 sexual offenders have been moved within group homes and facilities run by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), mostly connected to the Jonathan Carey Foundation.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Molinaro called the act “frightening,” and raised several questions about the practices of moving sexual offenders - even those also suffering from disabilities - into state-run facilities for vulnerable individuals.

“As a father of a child with a disability, and as an advocate for this with disabilities in the community, what we’ve learned the last several days is frightening,” he said. “These (offenders) are the first individuals that have the greatest likelihood of reoffending. It is an illness that precludes them in many ways from stopping. These are individuals who have no place in their home with our most vulnerable population.”

As of Tuesday, Sept. 25, there were convicted Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders at group homes and OPWDD facilities in Washington, Saratoga, Franklin and Suffolk counties. Level 2 threats are deemed an offender is a “moderate risk to repeat the offense, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice. Level 3 offenders are a “high-risk repeat offender and possible threats to public safety.”

“Those with developmental disabilities are among the most vulnerable. This is a crime and tragedy waiting to happen. It shouldn’t be allowed and those being directed to do so, should resist,” the GOP gubernatorial added. “I’m asking New York State employees who are being told to carry out this order to stop, to refuse, to say ‘it’s not appropriate.’ It’s dangerous, it’s inexcusable and it’s probably criminal.

“This is a very special and important situation. We’re asking these individuals to be hero. We’re asking them to say it’s inappropriate to ask those most vulnerable to be placed in homes with those who have committed some of the most egregious offenses. We’re hopeful that state employees will take up the call and say this is something they won’t participate in.”

In response to the discovery of the sex offenders living in his homes and facilities throughout the state, Michael Carey, the founder of the Jonathan Carey organization where the offenders were found, has repeatedly claimed that it illegally endangers the welfare of the disabled, according to multiple reports. He has also questioned the legality of placing sex offenders with developmentally disabled. Carey has reportedly already reached out to law enforcement officials throughout the state to make them aware of the situation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration have been mum on the issue. Molinaro said that it is up to him and his administration to end the practice, calling it “inexcusable” that the governor has had “no response.”

“The state has not made it clear how these individuals have been selected for these homes, but the argument is being made that it’s okay to have a sex offender in a home with another individual because they share a disability,” he added. “(Sex offenders) ought to be found housing that doesn’t put other people at risk. It’s illogical; it is offensive; it is dangerous, and it is inexcusable.”

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