Riverhead sues county over sex offender trailer
Riverhead town officials announced Friday that they are suing Suffolk County over a sex offender trailer that sits in a parking lot near the county jail.
The lawsuit is the culmination of two years of controversy surrounding the trailer. Town officials say the trailer, supposed to be a temporary shelter for homeless convicted sex offenders, violates a number of laws.
"Just about every local law in county law has been broken," Jim Wooten, of the Riverhead Town Council, says. "Twenty-four homeless sex offenders, level 2 and level 3, placed within a quarter-mile of our park and within a half-mile of our local school and library."
County officials say the park Wooten refers to was created after the trailer was put in place and thus is an excuse for the town to claim the trailer?s presence violates the law. As News 12 Long Island has reported, as many as 24 sex offenders can stay in the trailer at a time. County officials say they are guarded by three security guards from 8 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Still, Riverhead officials say their residents are at risk.
"The claim that they are guarded and secure at night is pure hogwash,? Wooten says. ?The truth is they are not under arrest and they are not incarcerated. They can come and go at will if they want."
Rowland Hansen, of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, says the town?s argument is weak. He adds that the sex offenders housed in the trailer are not from the area and do not spend time there. He says they?re put in cabs and on buses to get where they have to go during the day and only return to Riverhead at night.