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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — States have laws to keep sex offenders off of playgrounds and away from schools, but now local lawmakers want to bar pedophiles from the children’s section at your local library.
Parents are pushing for legislation because of a sex assault that happened at a public library this week.
Chris Juan said she used to consider her local library a safe haven for children, but after police said a 10-year-old girl was sexually abused inside the Pomonok Library in Queens, Juan said she is keeping her kids by her side.
“It’s scary to me,” she told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez on Friday.
Investigators don’t know if the suspect is one of the long list of registered sex offenders living in the neighborhood.
In July, registered sex offender Joel Grubert was arrested after police said he groped two young girls inside the Queens Library in Flushing. Many are outraged Grubert was able to have such easy access to children.
“It’s preposterous that that’s happening and the law should be changed,” Upper West Side resident Glenn Delieu said.
Current laws say it’s illegal for registered sex offenders to enter playgrounds, but there’s simply nothing stopping them from going inside the children’s section of libraries.
Some local lawmakers want to change that.
“Children’s rooms in a library are a mental playground for little kids. And they’re going to attract molesters. And that’s why Albany should pass a law which would ban and make it a crime for a molester to go into a children’s room in a library,” City Councilman Peter Vallone said.
Parents that spoke with CBS 2′s Sanchez said they strongly support tougher laws banning offenders from children’s departments, though many question how legislation would be enforced.
“What do they need to do…is there protocols in place? How are they going to find out that he is anyway also, which is a bigger problem? But I think we need to be concerned and need to figure out something that works,” parent Kennth Misrok said.
Councilman Vallone said he hopes to propose the law to state legislators when they’re back in session next year. He said he is also pushing to have surveillance cameras installed in the children’s sections of libraries citywide.
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