Sen. Klein Looks To Extend Sex Offender Laws To Pre-K Programs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York law says a sex offender can’t live near a school. So how could a convicted rapist move in just feet from one?

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, the state registry says Mark Mercado, convicted of raping a 14-year-old, lives on Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx, just a block from a special needs elementary school.

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“It’s puzzling,” and troubling said state Sen. Jeff Klein.

But now, the state is taking action.

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On Friday, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision told WCBS 880 Mercado will be removed from the residence on Williamsbridge Road.

“The Williamsbridge Road residence, up until today, was considered to be SARA-compliant residence, however, now that new information has been brought to our attention, DOCCS will take immediate action to remove the parolee today without further investigation or delay,” the DCC said. “The piece of mind, and safety and security of the community is our upmost priority.”

But that’s not all. Mercado also lives within 1,000 feet of a private pre-kindergarten center, which is not covered by the sex offender law, Silverman reported.

“I think step one is the Division of Criminal Justice Services has to enforce the existing law. Step two, I want to extend the law to include a universal pre-k program,” Klein said.

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The lawmaker’s bill to do just that has passed the Senate this year, but not the Assembly.