At its March 23 public meeting, the Village of Massapequa Park board of trustees approved a local law, one designed to restrict the residence of registered sex offenders.
The law basically establishes restrictions for any registered sex offender at a variety of establishments in the village. More specifically, it will now be unlawful for any registered sex offender to establish a residence of domicile within a 1,000 ft. radius of the following places: Any school, child day-care center, community center, public library, park, playground, and other recreational facility.
The law also stipulates that "any registered sex offender who establishes a residence or domicile in violation of the residency restrictions...shall have 30 days from receipt of a written notice from the Village Clerk to relocate to a location which does not violate [those same restrictions]."
Exemptions to the law are registered sex offenders who have established residences prior to the effective date of the new law or to a registered sex offender under the age of 18 residing with his/her parents or legal guardian.
Penalties for violating the new law are, upon conviction, a fine of up to $2,500. "Each and every day a violation exists or continues shall be a separate violation," the law further states.
As far as legality of the new ordinance is concerned, the law also stipulates that "if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase [of the law] is...held to be invalid or unconstitutional" by any court, then such a decision "shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the [law]."
The law's "findings and intent" notes that the passage of New York State's own sex offender law, "Megan's Law" has "increased public awareness of sex offenders by requiring them to become registered with authorities and making such information available to the public."
However, the BOT also claimed that more needs to be done.
"The Village Board finds that the rate of recidivism is high and programs designed to treat and rehabilitate these types of offenders have been largely ineffective," said a village statement released upon passage of the law. "The Village Board further finds that restricting registered sex offenders from residing in close proximity to places where children are likely to congregate is likely to reduce the opportunity and temptation for, and can minimize the risks of, repeated acts against minors."