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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Town Sues County Over Sex Offender Trailer

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) - Suffolk County is operating a "sex offender trailer" too close to public areas used by children, and on environmentally protected land, the Town of Riverhead says. Twenty-four registered sex offenders live less than 500 feet from the city limits, a quarter mile from a park, the Riverhead Free Public Library, bike paths and walkways, the town claims in Suffolk County Court.

According to the town's complaint, in 2007, the county put "a trailer to house homeless Level Two and Three sex offenders" in George Lindgren Schmelzer Riverfront Park, which has "attractions designed for the benefit and enjoyment of children,"

The Town says the trailer puts more "high-risk sex offenders" in Riverhead than at "any other location within the County."

The county claims the trailer's residents are watched by three guards and "are not permitted to wander around the jail ground or the community at any time." But the town says the guards "cannot prevent an offender from leaving the facility at any time since [they] are not incarcerated, they are homeless."

The town says one sex offender was caught publicly urinating in downtown Riverhead.

"This arrested sex offender felt free to expose his genitals in a public place in order to urinate," the town claims. "Such actions can only indicate that, at least, this offender is sliding towards recidivism."

In addition to violating public safety laws, the town says, the "barely habitable" trailer with no showers violates environmental laws.

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