Shirley's Thomas And Jennifer Gritz Say They Understand The Parolees Need A Home, But Object To State's Placement Process

SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family on Long Island is demanding relief.

Their next-door neighbors include five convicted sex offenders all sharing the same house, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.

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Photo notifications of the most recent sex offenders to move into a group home next door were given to the Gritz family of Shirley. It’s all perfectly legal.

“I’m worried about my son and I’m worried about my neighbors’ kids and I’m worried about the daycare on the corner,” Thomas Gritz said.

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The parents said their 10-year-old son plays inside with their dogs because they’re fearful of him riding his bicycle alone on the street.

There just needs to be a guidelines as to where they can live and the number allowed in each household,” Jennifer Gritz said.

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Last spring, CBS2 visited multiple Suffolk County neighborhoods where families live next to Level 2 and Level 3 registered sex offenders — up to 10 in a house. School buses stop on a
street with five such group homes. Advocates are pushing the state Department of Corrections and community supervision to act.

“Right before school starts, this is go time, the month of August. We’re making sure all these security measures are in place, but when it comes to sex offenders living close to schools, that should be just as, if not more, important,” said Dr. Michael Hynes, the superintendent of Patchogue-Medford schools.

The state Senate has already passed a bill which would reverse an appellate court decision, and allow individual counties to set their own local laws regulating sex offender housing. But it has languished in the Assembly, CBS2’s McLogan reported.

“I’m calling on the speaker to bring us back, move the bill to the floor, an up or down vote, and send it to the governor to sign into law before school starts,” Long Island Assemblyman Dean Murray said.

“I know they need a place to live and I understand that, but I don’t understand the laws that govern their placements,” Thomas Gritz said.

The Gritz family claims the state’s inaction is putting their child at risk.

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The Department of Corrections said each sex offender is closely supervised and monitored. Neighborhood placements are regulated by risk level and accessibility to the parolee’s family members and friends.