New Suffolk law aims to protect children from sex offenders

Suffolk County lawmakers are hoping to keep sexual predators away from children with the state's first residency restriction law for convicted sex offenders.

No sex offender is now legally allowed to live within a quarter-mile of a school, day care center or playground, even if he or she is not on parole or probation. Child advocates are praising the law, but question how it will be enforced. Convicted sex offenders are required to register with the state, but there is currently no criminal justice agency in charge of making sure those on parole or probation are not breaking the new law.

Laura Ahern, of Parents for Megan's Law, says she has spent years pushing for lifetime supervision of sex offenders. However, Ahern says state lawmakers step in to prevent community residents from shouldering the responsibility of protecting themselves.

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