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August 16, 2010

Legislator Gonsalves and Nassau County Legislature

Blaze a New Trail to Protect Youth from Sex Offenders

                                   

Nassau County Alternate Deputy Presiding Officer Norma L. Gonsalves and the Majority members of the Nassau County Legislature passed a new law to help families protect their children from registered sex offenders. The new legislation, the first of its kind in New York, requires youth agencies to certify that all employees have been checked against New York State’s list of registered sex offenders under the Sex Offender Registration Act.

“This law allows parents to see exactly who is working with their children,” said Legislator Gonsalves.“It is important that all information possible is available for parents when making decisions regarding the safety of their children.” 

The new legislation allows any parent or guardian to inquire whether there is a registered sex offender employed by a youth agency, whether full-time, part-time or as a volunteer. All youth organizations, including daycares, sports organizations, clubs, and any individual who serves youth under age 18 in any capacity must provide a disclosure statement to parents/guardians (upon request) stating that all principals, employees, volunteers, and independent contractors associated with the youth agency are not registered sex offenders pursuant to verification with the NY Sex Offender Registry.

It has been shown that there is a high rate of recidivism for convicted sex offenders and therefore such offenders may pose a risk to youth entrusted in their care. This legislation helps to ensure parents that their children are not exposed to registered sex offenders.

“We hope this legislation will have a ‘chilling effect’ on sex offenders and discourage them from attempting to work with youth in Nassau County,” said Gonsalves.