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July 16, 2002
LEGISLATOR MUSCARELLA PROVIDES INFORMATION ABOUT MEGAN'S LAW
As the hazy, hot, and humid summer days drag along, children all over Nassau County will beg their parents for just a little bit more time to finish up their soccer game or to play on the swing set. As parents our number one goal is to protect our children, to watch out for them and to make sure they are safe. However, there maybe someone else watching your children this summer, someone that does not have the same loving and caring intentions as you. Legislator Vincent T. Muscarella (R-West Hempstead) wants all parents to be aware of the laws that protect their children.
Protection of the young and vulnerable is the top priority of law enforcement organizations around the nation. In New York State, the Sex Offender Registration Act or Megan's Law, mandates that sex offenders register with local police departments after conviction or upon release from prison. This law is to notify parents about predators who recently moved into their neighborhoods. "Nothing is more important than protecting Nassau County's children. Megan's Law is the driving force behind sex offender registration," said Legislator Muscarella.
Megan's Law is broken down into three categories or tiers, each tier is separated by the offenders prior crimes and the risk of a repeat offense.
Tier One- The lowest level of risk of a repeat offense. The State of New York notifies the Nassau County Police Department of the offender but no public notification is made of their arrival into a community.
Tier Two- The risk of a repeat offense is moderate. The State of New York notifies the Nassau County Police Department of the offender and a copy of the offenders record is sent to that area's precinct. The police then have the option to release relevant information about the offender. This information may include the person's name, zip code, photograph of the offender, background information including the crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of victim targeted, and any special conditions related to the case.
Tier Three- The risk of a repeat offense is high and there exists a threat to public safety. Such an offender shall be deemed a "sexually violent predator". The State of New York once again notifies the Nassau County Police Department and the appropriate precincts and agencies will be notified. The police department then will release the offenders, name, exact address, a photograph of the individual, background information including the offenders crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of victim targeted, and the description of any special conditions imposed on the offender to any entity with a vulnerable population. For instance if an offender stalked their victims in a library, local libraries and bookstores may be notified of his presence. These entities upon receiving this information may release this information to the public at their discretion.
The Nassau County Police Department wants to stress that Megan's Law does not only apply to sex offenders of children. Any person convicted of sex crimes can fall under the jurisdiction of this law. Sexual predators do exist in our society, and with the help of Megan's Law, the various law enforcement agencies of Nassau County are making sure that all residents are aware of potential dangers. "Please be alert and aware of your surroundings and where your children are this summer. The Nassau County Police Department works very hard to protect county residents, and Megan's Law is one of the tools used to fight the war against sexual predators," added Legislator Muscarella. If you have questions about Megan's Law you can call the Nassau County Police Department's automated system at 516-573-8059 or you can search New York State's website at www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us.