Cicero makes history with sex offender law

Sex offenders better think twice before moving to Cicero.

The Cicero town board voted unanimously on Nov. 29 to enact legislation, sponsored by Councilor Jim Corl, which will limit the area convicted local sex offenders can live in.

The law bans level 2 or 3 sex offenders from living within a mile of a school or daycare center and 1,500 feet from a park or playground.

The state classifies sex offenders by the recidivism rate -- or the likelihood to reoffend. But any incident involving a minor almost always results in an identification of a level 2 or 3 status, Corl said.

"If you molest a child, you're probably going to be classified as a level 2 or 3 offender, and that's who this legislation is geared toward," Corl said.

With the law, Cicero becomes the first township in Onondaga County to control sex offenders to this degree. Seneca and Cayuga counties have passed county-wide laws that better control sex offenders. Onondaga county legislators have not addressed the issue.

"Once again Cicero has to become the vanguard," Councilor Bill Rybak said. "We will always take the necessary to steps we have to protect our children."

Sex offenders who live in an area where a school, park or playground doesn't exist aren't necessarily out of the woods, either. The goal is a no-exceptions approach to keeping potential threats to children on lockdown, Corl said.

"If a school is going to be built within a mile of a sex offenders home," Corl said. "He or she will have six months to find a location not within the mile-radius of the school, or they could face jail time."

Four members of the audience showed support for the ordinance.

"I'm totally in favor it, anything to save a kid," said Mary Jo Hoover, of Noel Road.

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