Sex offenders not welcome

Opposition from an outsider

The lone opposition to the ordinance came from a Rochester-area pastor.

"All these laws really do is offer a false sense of security," said Dr. Rev. David Hess, a representative for Sex Offender Hopeful International, an advocacy group for sex offenders' rights.

Citing statistics from a similar situation in Iowa, Hess claimed laws that control sex offenders to this degree can produce unwanted -- and often less safe -- scenarios.

"What you end up with are concentrations of these people living in the outskirts of town, and sex offenders sleeping in their cars or under bridges," Hess said. "Is anyone really safer under those circumstances?"

Hess, citing his own research, claimed that 95 percent of sexual crimes are committed by victims' relatives and not some stranger, which is whom the law targets.

"Have you ever heard of a registered sex offender invading a school and victimizing a child?" he asked. "Yes there was the shooting at the Amish school, but he wasn't a registered sex offender. He lived over a mile away from the school. This law prevents no one from hopping in a car and driving to a school."

Police chief Joseph Snell said local numbers speak for themselves.

"Out of all the sex offenders living in Cicero, a majority are level 2 and 3 and a majority also live within a mile of a school," Snell said. "The ordinance would have an immediate impact on these people."

Rybak, the former head of child abuse for the Syracuse Police Department, put it much simpler: "Why would you put the fox in the hen house?"

For example, the only level 3 sex offender, convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting a 16- year-old girl, lives less than a half mile away from St. Rose of Lima School on South Bay Road, according to the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

For reasons like that, Cicero Supervisor Chet Dudzinski said he will stand behind the legislation for the long haul.

"I think it's a good direction for the town," Dudzinski said. "Nobody's done anything like this around here. I would do anything to protect a kid's life, and I will stand with Mr. Corl all the way on this. And If it goes to court, I'll be right there with him."

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