The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, May 23, 2005


The arrest of DPW worker Christopher Holdridge for allegedly filming sex with a thirteen year old girl has people talking about sex offenders and where they reside after release from prison. Troy City Council President Marge DurGurahian did some research recently and found that Rensselaer County harbors eighty-five level three sex offenders.

What is a level three sex offender?

Upon release to the community following a conviction for a registerable offense, the sex offender is required to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. In order to determine the level of community notification and duration of registration, a hearing is held by the sentencing court. After examining the facts in the particular case, including, but not limited to, the use of force, weapons, alcohol or drugs, victim's age, number of victims, assault or injury of the victim and relationship to the victim, the court makes a determination regarding the offender's level of notification, commonly called the risk level. The risk level is based on the court's assessment as to whether a particular offender is likely to repeat the same or similar registerable offense and the danger the offender poses to the community. Because the risk level reflects factors unique to a particular sex offender, offenders convicted of the same offense may receive different risk levels.

The court may assign one of the following three risk levels. The risk level governs the amount and type of information which can be released as community notification. (Note: In the interim period between registration and the risk level hearing, the offender's risk level may be referred to as "pending" and information about the offender may only be released in accordance with the standards for a low risk offender).

Level 1 (low risk of repeat offense), or
Level 2 (moderate risk of repeat offense), or
Level 3 (high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists).

In addition to the risk level, the court also determines whether the offender should be designated a sexual predator a sexually violent offender a predicate sex offender. This designation governs the duration of the registration. Those offenders who had a hearing on or after March 11, 2002 are registered for 10 years unless they have been given one of the above designations. If the offender has been designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender, he or she must register for life. Level 1 and 2 offenders who had a determination proceeding prior to March 11, 2002 are registered for 10 years. Level 3 offenders who had a determination proceeding prior to March 11, 2002 are registered for life unless relieved of the duty to register by the sentencing court after having been registered for a minimum of 13 years.

For more information about where these predators reside, you can go here. Just click on the Search Level Three Subdirectory link in the upper right corner. You then have to enter some personal information. Then you can search by name or county. It's worth a visit, if only to find out if there are any such people in your neighborhood. The list for Rensselaer County is disturbingly long.

There is also recent talk about legislation on the state level. The legislation would make sex offenders released from prison eligible for "civil confinement". Frankly, such talk is ridiculous.

Some believe sex offenders are simply evil. Others believe sex offenders are ill. The end result is the same for the victim, whether the perpetrator is evil or sick. Sex offenders should be removed from society permanently. Whether they are sent to jail or a high-risk medical facility doesn't matter. Simply remove them from society. Why can't the legislature get together and do this?

Very rarely do the editors of the Troy Polloi believe in Draconian measures. This is one exception. The risk for those who cannot protect themselves is too great for inaction. We hope Ms. DerGurahian keeps this issue in the spotlight.

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