BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new chapter has begun in the battle of local politicians who are taking on the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and their placement of sex offenders in group homes.
After a two-year battle to remove sex offenders from a home in West Seneca proved successful, they were simply relocated elsewhere in Erie County, with confirmed placements in North Collins and now in North Buffalo.
"We are calling upon the State Inspector General to do a full scale investigation, and to find out exactly how this transpired," said state Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo.
Two Level 2 sex offenders now reside at a group home operated by Community Services of the Developmentally Disabled at 76 Rosemary Avenue.
Kennedy says the permit for the building granted by the City of Buffalo only allows housing for 90 to 135 days, and he wants to make sure the state does not intend to violate that permit. He also wants to find out if OPWDD followed the proper guidelines for alerting authorities and residents before placing the sex offenders in the group home.
Kennedy, Erie County Legislator Peter Savage and Buffalo Common Council Member Joel Feroleto say with three schools and a daycare in the area, the sex offenders should be removed as soon as possible.
"They shouldn't be near schools, they shouldn't be near daycares, they shouldn't be near playgrounds, they shouldn't be in residential neighborhoods like this," Kennedy said.
While elected officials and neighbors said the sex offenders are not welcome here, when asked where they should go, no one had an answer.
"There's not a magic formula, as the senator said. We're talking about violent sex offenders. I don't know where the best place to put them is. I can tell you there are worse places to put them than other places," Savage said.
Kennedy is a co-sponsor of legislation that would prohibit sex offenders from being placed in group homes for people with developmental disabilities. It passed the Senate but did not make it to the Assembly floor.
The legislation would present even fewer options for OPWDD, which says everyone who stays in its group homes, including sex offenders, has a developmental disability, so, for now, the stalemate continues.