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Cicero: Sex offender stays in home

Registered sex offenders already living in the town of Cicero won't have to move to comply with a town law regulating their residence, according to a decision made by the town board Friday Jan. 11.

The board voted three to one to approve a grandfather clause that would allow registered sex offenders to remain in their homes, provided that they lived in the town prior to the passage of Chapter 168 of the local laws of the town of Cicero. The law, entitled The Sex Offenders Residency Restrictions, states that registered sex offenders cannot live within a one-mile radius of the main, secondary or tertiary entrances of any school or day care center or a 1,500-foot radius of the main, secondary or tertiary entrances of any park or playground.

The law, passed in November of 2006, was challenged in July of last year when Scott Burdick, a registered class two sex offender, sued the town, Supervisor Chester "Chet" Dudzinski and Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell. Burdick, who has lived on Pickett Lane for 17 years, located within one mile of Gillette Road Middle School, did not seek monetary damages, but instead asked only to be allowed to remain in his home.

In response to the suit, the board held a public hearing at its Dec. 19 meeting regarding adding a grandfather clause to allow those who lived in violation of the restrictions to remain in their homes.

At that time, the board voted not to include the clause, but the issue was revisited Jan. 11. This time the board approved the clause, with Dudzinski voicing the only dissenting vote.

Clause closes loophole

"When we originally put the law into effect, we were the first in Onondaga County to do it, and we put in a lot of research," said board member Vern Conway. "But we still missed some points here and there."

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