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Bronx Pols Call for Ban on Sex Offenders at Family Homeless Shelters

By Eddie Small | January 22, 2015 6:20pm
 Sex offenders James Bryant and Curtis Bolden (L-R) both list the Crystal Family Residence as their current address.
Sex offenders James Bryant and Curtis Bolden (L-R) both list the Crystal Family Residence as their current address.
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THROGS NECK — A group of politicians on Friday will call for a ban on sex offenders from family homeless shelters after a child molester and a rapist were found to be living in a Bronx facility.

State Senator Jeff Klein has drafted a bill barring the Department of Homeless Services to disallow the offenders from living in temporary emergency housing and in homeless shelters where families with children stay. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Councilman Jimmy Vacca also support the measure.

"Sex offenders are already barred from living in public housing," the proposed legislation reads. "This measure extends the same protection to homeless families."

The call comes as a result of registered sex offenders James Bryant and Curtis Bolden staying at the Crystal Family Residence, a shelter located at 555 Hutchinson River Pkwy. next to Donald Trump's soon-to-open Bronx golf course.

Bryant was convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Bolden was convicted of rape in 1980 and sentenced to 100 months to 25 years in prison.

Both men now list 555 Hutchinson River Pkwy. as their primary residence, and both are listed as level three offenders, meaning they are at high risk of repeating their crimes.

“DHS makes every effort to ensure the safety of its clients and families," said agency spokesman Chris Miller in an email. "State social service law prohibits us from speaking about specific clients.”

Klein framed the bill as a straightforward idea that would keep families safe.

"The legislation is rather simple," said Klein, "and I think it takes a common sense approach to protect children living in family shelters."

Benedetto agreed that the matter at hand was largely a safety issue.

"If you’re opening up a shelter, a family shelter, why would you even think of putting a sex offender in with other families in close proximity to children?" Benedetto asked. "It’s a difficult situation living in a shelter in the first place. Why are we making it even worse?"

The Crystal Family Residence is located within Bronx Community Board 10, and the board's District Manager Kenneth Kearns said he supported the spirit of the legislation.

"You’ve got a sex offender who’s accused, tried and convicted of acts against children placed in one of these facilities," he said. "It just doesn’t make sense."