Report reveals that nearly a dozen sex offenders are currently housed in family shelters throughout the five boroughs
Elected officials, community leaders and concerned residents call on the State Assembly to pass companion legislation to protect children
State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) today unveiled an alarming investigative report, “Uncovering Sex Offenders in the New York City Family Shelter System,” that found that nearly a dozen sexual predators currently residing in 10 family shelters across New York City which house young children.
Senator Klein, together with Senator Leroy Comrie (Queens), stood in front of the Lincoln Atlantic, a family homeless shelter at 90-35 Van Wyck Expressway, where a sex offender resides, and urged their Assembly colleagues to pass the companion bill to Klein’s legislation that would ban this from happening.
Klein’s latest investigation details the inability of the NYC Department of Homeless Services to significantly address the problem of housing sex offenders in family shelters for more than seven years. After first becoming aware of the issue in 2007, Klein released his first report citing which family shelters were housing sex offenders throughout New York City. Since that time, a total of 35 sex offenders have resided in 20 different NYC family shelters.
“The city’s most vulnerable families shouldn’t have to worry that their next door neighbor is a sexual predator. These known sex offenders who have been convicted of preying on children – some as young as five and seven-years-old – must be housed elsewhere to protect these families who are trying to get back on their feet. If the city’s Department of Homeless Services refuses to protect these youngsters we will do so through state law,” said Senator Klein.
"Clearly these miscreants who have harmed children, should never be allowed into family shelters. The city must protect our most vulnerable by ensuring shelters are safe and not create more horrifying and stressful situations when families are trying to reshape their lives,” said Senator Leroy Comrie. “The Department of Homeless Services must make certain that sex offenders cannot be housed in places where they pose a threat to innocent people, especially children. I will work with my colleagues in state government to help ensure that families already suffering with the burden of homelessness, are more aptly protected."
“I am proud to have voted in favor of this legislation which would prevent dangerous sex offenders from being housed in the same shelters as children and families. It is common sense that these criminals should be confined to adult population facilities only, minimizing their ability to prey on vulnerable youngsters in our community,” said Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens). “It is shocking and completely unacceptable that nearly a dozen sexual predators were found living in ten family shelters across New York City. I applaud my colleague in government, Senator Jeff Klein, for taking the initiative to put an end to this problem.”
"It is absolutely disgraceful that rather than ensure that sex offenders not be placed in family shelters, as per Senator Klein's legislation, the City allows this outrageous practice to continue,” said Senator Tony Avella (Queens). “Moving sex offenders from one facility to another is an obvious effort to hide what must be changed. We must put the safety of our children and vulnerable populations first."
Last month, Klein revealed that two sex offenders had been moved into the Crystal Family Residence on the Hutchinson River Parkway, located in the 34th Senate District, which he serves. They are: James Bolden, a Level 3 sex offender convicted of raping two women on two separate occasions, and James Bryant, a Level 2 sex offender convicted for sexual assault of a 7-year-old.
After DHS was notified, the agency informed Klein’s office that it had removed both men from the family facility. However, based on subsequent news reports and additional investigation by Klein’s office it was discovered that Bryant was relocated into another family shelter in Queens, the Westway Motel, on Astoria Boulevard. Bryant is one of four known sexual predators who lists a Queens family shelter address on the sex offender registry.
"I applaud Senator Klein's common sense legislation that would ban sex offenders from living in shelters where children are present," said Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). "Shelters should be a safe space for families, and especially for the children who live in them. It is critical that the organizations overseeing shelters have in place the proper safeguards to protect the very families that they exist to serve in order to ensure that what happened at the Westway hotel in my district never happens again."
Four other registered sex offenders are listed as residing in three family shelters in Brooklyn. Three more registered sex offenders are list Bronx family shelters as their home.
Age of Victim
Henwood Family Residence
115 Henwood Place Bronx, NY 10453
13 years old
Cleveland Family Residence
1277 Morris Avenue Bronx, NY 10456
1215 Seneca Avenue Bronx, NY 10474
20 years old and 24 years old
515 Blake Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11207
12 and 13 years old
Junnis Street Family Residences
1738 East New York Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11212
10 years old
Tilden Hall Family Residences
2520 Tilden Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11226
15 years old
Park Family Residences
154-00 Rockaway Blvd Jamaica, NY 11434
29 years old
Belt Park Family Center
153-90 Rockaway Blvd Jamaica, NY 11434
13 years old
90-35 Van Wyck Expressway Jamaica, NY 11435
7 and 5 years old
72-05 Astoria Boulevard
East Elmhurst, NY 11370
7 years old
Last week, the State Senate overwhelmingly (55-0) passed Senator Klein’s legislation (S.851-2015) that prohibits Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from being housed in family shelters and requires by law that they be placed in adult-only shelters or shelters without children. This legislation amends current Social Services Law and brings the shelter system up to speed with current law concerning public housing, where sex offenders are already prohibited from residing.
The companion bill (A.3706) is sponsored by Assemblyman Matt Titone in the Assembly.
“The issue of high-level sex offenders taking up residence in emergency shelters intended for homeless families remains a concern since first coming to our attention in 2007. Federal law prohibits public housing admission to Level 2 and 3 sex offenders – and we are seeking to extend that protection to our most vulnerable children and families,” Assemblyman Titone said.
“Today 80% of New York’s homeless are women and children; every day that the current law remains in place, each of New York’s 25,000 homeless children remains in avoidable risk,” Titone added.