Lawmaker pushes bill to limit sex offender housing

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SHIRLEY -

State Assemblyman Dean Murray is demanding relief for a Shirley family whose neighbors include five convicted sex offenders all sharing the same house.

He joined a group of Suffolk school officials and parents to demand lawmakers pass a bill to allow county officials to determine where sex offenders can reside.

The state Senate already passed the bill, which would reverse an appellate court decision that invalidated local laws on the issue in 2015.

Thomas and Jennifer Gritz say their 10-year-old son can't play outside or invite friends over due to their neighbors.

Suffolk County used to have a law that regulated sex offender housing, until the court overturned in it 2015.

Michael Hynes, the superintendent of Patchogue-Medford Schools, says the decision and subsequent lack of new guidelines created a major safety issue.

"Guns are not the only threat that has to do with our schools," he says.

Even without Murray's effort in the Assembly, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has the power to set its own guidelines about where Level 2 and 3 sex offenders can live. But its interim commissioner has not put any in place.

Thomas and Jennifer Gritz say the state's inaction is putting their child at risk.

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