BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Two sex offenders live less than a five-minute walk from a Bed-Stuy daycare center — a circumstance that's common throughout the city and is legal under a loophole in state law, according to a new Senate report.
Sex offenders are banned from living within the designated distance of a school, but stand-alone daycare programs without affiliation to grade schools — such as the Atlantic Avenue Early Learning Center at 1825 Atlantic Ave. — remain unprotected by state law, according to an investigation by the State Senate Coalition released Sunday.
That loophole allows a 51-year-old man guilty of violating a 7-year-old to reside two blocks from the center, which provides care for children up to five years old, while another high-risk offender convicted of raping a young teen lives 580 feet away, according to the report.
In all, a dozen convicted pedophiles live within 1,000 feet of the city's community universal pre-K programs, with half of the individuals residing near programs in Brooklyn, according to the report.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, who commissioned the study along with State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, said in a statement. “But even more shocking is that the legal definition of ‘school’ does not necessarily include Pre-K and kindergarten programs.”
Martina Surrency, administrative assistant at the Atlantic Avenue Early Learning Center, said local block associations have complained in the past of the prevalence of halfway houses in the surrounding area, to no avail.
Other convicted individuals in Brooklyn reside near United Community Day Care on New Lots Avenue and Pre-School Minds Day Care Center on Church Avenue. Of those living within 1,000 feet of stand-alone programs, three offenders are in the Bronx, two were found in Queens, and one in Manhattan.
The senate probe also discovered a blatant violation: an additional five offenders live near city pre-K programs housed by public schools.
Lawmakers seek to implement new legislation to limit the offenders’ interaction with children, citing high re-arrest rates. Fifteen percent of individuals were re-arrested within one year on the state sex offense registry, 24 percent after two years, and 48 percent after eight years, according to the report.
Proposed laws include allowing local governments to enact their own restrictions on offenders, changing the legal definition of a school to include pre-K and kindergarten, and holding risk assessment hearings before an individual is allowed in a community.