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The life-long stigma of being a sex offender in New York

Two trailers in Southampton, New York symbolize the struggle communities in New York and throughout the nation face when it comes to deciding where to let convicted sex offenders live.
 
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    February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The life-long stigma of being a sex offender in New York

Article provided by Law Office of James W. Winslow, P.C.
Visit us at http://www.winslowlawoffice.com

Two trailers in the infamously wealthy community of Southampton, New York symbolize the struggle communities in New York and throughout the nation face when it comes to deciding where to let convicted sex offenders live. The stark reality is that few people, if any, want to live next to a sex offender. But they have to live near someone and with as many restrictions as there are on how far they can reside from schools, parks, day cares and even bus stops, the options are few and far between.

Suffolk County, New York installed the trailers nearly six years ago as an alternative to sex offenders living clandestinely near children in cheap motels or on the streets where they could not effectively be monitored. Forty men now live in these two trailers -- which, until just three years ago, did not even have a shower. People may disagree when it comes to solutions for housing convicted sex offenders after their release from prison. But all agree that the current system is untenable.

Nowhere to live, nowhere to hide

Under New York state law, sex offenders on parole or whose victims were under 18 cannot live closer than 1,000 feet from a school or child care facility. In 2006, Suffolk County pushed the prohibition up to a quarter mile, or 1,320 feet, from such facilities. The town of Southampton then increased the protected radius to a full mile, or 5,280 feet, which has left almost nowhere for sex offenders legally to live.

In addition to restrictions on residency, those convicted of sexual crimes are generally required to register as a sex offender. This designation will often require an Internet profile with the offender's photograph, name and address for anyone to search and discover. Moreover, a registered sex offender may have to alert his or her neighbors of their status. Such notoriety will almost invariably make living in a neighborhood unbearable and getting a job nearly impossible.

In addition to these life-altering conditions, the consequences of a felony conviction in New York will have a direct impact on voting rights, immigration, the right to possess a firearm, access to public benefits like public housing and food stamps, the ability to obtain an education and even child custody. In short, a conviction for a sex offense will brand a person as a social leper for life.

Fighting for your rights -- and your life

Because of the severe and life-changing impact of such a conviction, it is critical to obtain the assistance of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible time. The sooner you have legal representation, the sooner your attorney can challenge the government's allegations and evidence. Aggressively attacking the charges at every stage of the criminal justice process will give you a better chance of avoiding the permanent stigma of being a registered sex offender.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for any type of sexual crime, contact an experienced defense attorney immediately to discuss your situation, your rights and your options.



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