Loophole could allow sex offenders to work for Uber, Lyft

Some are concerned about what is being called a dangerous loophole in the agreement that allows ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft to operate in New York state. Some are concerned about what is being called a dangerous loophole in the agreement that allows ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft to operate in New York state.
WOODBURY -

Some are concerned about what is being called a dangerous loophole in the agreement that allows ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft to operate in New York state.

Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, says she found the loophole while studying the bill's fine print.

"It's allowing Level 1 offenders that have been, as we've seen, convicted of very violent offenses against minors and adults and they will after seven years be permitted to pick up females in the dark," Ahearn says.

The new law that was passed requires people seeking to drive for such companies to obtain a Transportation Network Company driver permit. Those individuals found on the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website are banned from receiving the permit.

The problem is that the database only contains the names of individuals designated as Level 2 and 3 sex offenders in New York and leaves out Level 1 offenders. So under the new law, Level 1 offenders can get a permit -- seven years after their conviction.

"It makes no sense that a Level 1 offender who could potentially have to register for life, after seven years, somehow magically becomes safe to be able to get a TNC permit," says Ahearn.

There are more than 14,600 Level 1 sex offenders in New York who have been convicted of sex crimes, including rape and sodomy of children and young adults.

State Sen. Tom Croci has introduced legislation to close the loophole. He says he hopes to get his bill passed before the new law goes into effect in July.

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