WEST ISLIP - A convicted sex offender has moved in across the street from a West Islip day care center.
Douglas Oates was convicted in 1999 for incidents involving a 9-year-old boy. Oates is currently living on Higbie Lane across the street from South Shore Learning Center. Homeowner Danutta Webb told News 12 Long Island that Oates is only there temporarily. She also called him nice and not dangerous at all. Regardless, he has been given 45 days to leave.
In New York, it's illegal for sex offenders to live a quarter-mile from a school, registered nursery or playground. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Meghan's Law, says a loophole in the state's sex offender tracking system doesn't require authorities to keep track of offenders’ whereabouts.
“The problem we have with sex offender registration is that it is done on an honor system,” says Ahearn. “So an offender, if they are not on probation or parole, they can move wherever they want.”
According to Ahearn, the only way an offender can legally live within a mile of a school, registered nursery school or playground is if they lived there before the establishment opened – in which case, they are grandfathered in.