CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Parents were shocked to learn a sex offender had breakfast with students inside the East Hill Elementary cafeteria and even passed some notes.
Some are now calling for a change to the law.
This is a complicated issue because if a sex offender is no longer on probation or parole and does not have a conditional discharge they do not have restrictions and trying to change that law you could run into some trouble with constitutional rights or possibly discrimination.
“Any type of sexual act towards a child whether it was coercion or actual rape or whatever the case may be they should not be allowed around our children’s schools or anything,” Heather Murphy, parent, said.
Murphy, an East Hill Elementary parent, is deeply troubled and so outraged she started a petition titled Changing the laws on Pedophiles in our Schools. So far, it has more than 300 signatures.
Her goal, to place more restrictions on sex offenders who have already served their time and been released but may still pose a threat to children.
“Once you are no longer on parole or probation there are no restrictions such as no contact unsupervised with people under a certain age,” Paul DerOhannesian, Attorney at Law, said.
Attorney DerOhannesian says it could be difficult to change the law given it could be unconstitutional to do so.
“There is a constitutional concern in this country about any type of law that criminalizes conduct that wasn’t criminal when it was done or increase the punishment beyond what it was at the time you committed it.”
Schools don’t have much recourse on this issue either, the only way they could ban a sex offender who is no longer on parole or probation is if they were at a school where there victim or victims currently attend or use to attend.
“I’m motivated for not just this school but this school and for hopefully things change for every school in New York State,” Murphy said.
Now sex offender registry was considered by some a violation of rights but it did pass due to the risk to public safety so if the current law is challenged Safety may be an argument.