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More limits on homes of sex offenders discussed

Cheektowaga Town Board members plan to place more residency restrictions on convicted sexual offenders.

"What we want to do is protect all of our youth," Council Member James P. Rogowski said about the amendment during a public hearing Monday night.

He sponsored the resolution to add several spots frequented by local teenagers to the list of vicinities where convicted sex offenders cannot live. Other board members also endorse the proposal to prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any community center, teen facility, dance hall and skating rink because children traditionally congregate near these places.

The board plans to vote on the amendment at an upcoming meeting. It will add the locations to the law, passed in January, that prohibits convicted child sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any school, park, playground or day care center property.

"Those restrictions are tremendously necessary," Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. said. "It's a problem the justice system is imposing on us."

Johnson called for state legislation to incarcerate Level 3 sexual offenders for life.

Council Member Alice Magierski said every time a local municipality passes a law restricting convicted sex offenders it sends a message to state legislators to act. Buffalo, Amherst, Lancaster and Depew have passed similar residency restrictions.

"I think it strengthens our message," she said.

The Town Board also went on record this week in favor of a proposal by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to link state registries of sex offenders so that an offense in one state is known to other states. No federal method now tracks sex offenders who move from state to state.

Cheektowaga's town attorney also is researching the possibility of eliminating the grandfather clause that allows sex offenders to remain in their homes if they lived within the target area before the law was passed.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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