Protecting children from sex offenders
With children knocking on doors in search of candy, officers keep close tabs on sex offenders this Halloween. As YNN's Lori Chung reports, a violation could mean a trip back behind bars.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- “They have no clue when we’re coming or how many times we come,” said New York State Parole Officer Charles Figel.
That's the strategy behind the dozens of home visits on Officer Charles Figel's agenda. Keeping tabs on the sex offenders under parole supervision to make sure trick or treaters don't stumble onto danger.
Figel said, “If they have a propensity for children, this would be a day that they would attempt to victimize, so we really want to focus on that population.”
It's a sweep officials do every year in jurisdictions like Schenectady County, where there are more than 300 sex offenders on the registry.
"I had oral sex with a 14-year-old," one sex offender said.
"This is my first Halloween being in my own place,” said another sex offender. “Last Halloween, I was in a motel."
Many like this man have been well informed of the rules. A violation could be an easy ticket back behind bars.
"I'm not having any company, serving anybody any candy. I'm not answering my door," he said.
Figel said, "They all have no candy signs on their doors. They're not allowed to have masks, costumes, candy.”
And with kids going door to door, parole officers do the same, but their focus is very different.
“The level three sex offender or the sex offender who has victims, underage victims, would be our priority,” Figel said.
Some newly released from prison, getting accustomed to their new lives on the registry.
"I rough because I have a family and I used to enjoy Halloween myself," one sex offender said.
But the goal is to make sure the children not only enjoy the day, but stay out of harm's way in the process.
"Just keep the kids safe on Halloween... from guys like us," one sex offender said.