Residents outraged to learn two sex offenders quietly moved to North Buffalo group home
A group of north Buffalo residents is the latest to voice outrage over Level II sex offenders living in their neighborhood. Two sex offenders were recently relocated from a home on Leydecker Road in West Seneca to a developmentally disabled group home on Rosemary and Kenmore Avenues. Residents said they never received notification and want answers.
“Enough, we've got to say it's enough,” said Bonnie Kroll who lives on Rosemary Avenue.
Kroll joined three lawmakers and other residents as they stood in front of St. Lawrence Academy, a Buffalo Public School around the corner from the group home.
The group home is actually in walking distance of three schools and one daycare center.
State Senator Tim Kennedy, County Legislator Peter Savage and Delaware District Common Council member Joel Feroleto are calling on the State Inspector General to investigate and find out if there is any violation of relocated the sex offenders in this north Buffalo community.
"It certainly makes no sense to put them in to close proximity to day cares, schools and a brand new bike path," said Savage. "It doesn't' belong here, period."
“We should've been notified if they were going to do this. I don't even think they should be here because of what everybody knows is that the daycare, the bike path, the schools,” remarked Knoll.
Cindy Frank lives is directly across the street from the group home. She shared a photo of her grandchildren saying she fears for their safety.
“Why would you not have compassion enough to get them away from women? It’s like putting food in front of a starving man and saying ‘sorry, you can’t have that. Why would you do that? That’s stupid,” Frank stated.
WBFO News reached Mindy Cervoni, President of the Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled. Cervoni declined a recorded interview. She could only confirm they 'operate' the group home. Cervoni said is 'not permitted' to share details of who lives at the site. The State office of Developmental Disabilities assigns those in need of housing.
But residents also voiced general concerns about the entire group home in their neighborhood. As for other complaints, Cervoni tells us she has never personally received calls from residents.
"What's very disturbing to me is that the permit for this house is supposed to be temporary housing with individuals with disabilities. I want to know why the state located these two individuals here, what their plan is for how long that they want these two individuals here and if they are violating any state laws by placing them here," said Council member Feroleto.
Keith Page also lives across from the group home on Rosemary.
“Last couple of months it started to go downhill, disruptions outside of this, but then to find out about these two sex offenders moving in. The way we found out too, not being notified,” said Page.
Kennedy, Savage and Feroleto’s wrote a letter to the Inspector General. In that letter lawmakers note that when the facility on Rosemary opened, "the permit granted by the City required the location to be used as temporary housing for developmentally disabled persons, meaning residents were limited to 90-135 day stays." The letter stated "any resident staying for a longer period of time, or a person who is not classified with a developmental disability, would appear to be in violation of the conditional permit," wrote the lawmakers.
Senator Kennedy said he wants the sex offenders out of the north Buffalo.
"I have a piece of legislation that would ban sex offenders from being located in community homes, in residential neighborhoods such as this," said Kennedy. "We want these sex offenders out of this neighborhood."
Here is the full text of the letter written to the IG:
June 24, 2016
Ms. Catherine Leahy Scott New York State Inspector General Empire State Plaza Agency Building 2, 16th Floor Albany, New York 12223
Dear Inspector General Leahy Scott:
It has come to our attention that two Level II sex offenders were recently relocated to a Community Residence operated by the Community Services of the Developmentally Disabled, located at 590 Kenmore Avenue/76 Rosemary Avenue in the City of Buffalo. We are gravely concerned that the relocation of these sex offenders did not follow proper notification requirements to local law enforcement and to the community. Additionally, we are alarmed that this facility may now be in violation of the operating permit granted by the City of Buffalo. We respectfully request your full attention into the process behind placing sex offenders in this facility.
New York State law requires notification by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to local law enforcement, as well as local residents who elect to receive alerts. As these sex offenders were placed within an Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) facility, it is the state’s duty to notify the proper channels, especially in light of the potential harm sex offenders present to the community. A dangerous precedent is being set if notification procedures were not followed. We request an investigation into the notifications made connected to the placement of sex offenders at 590 Kenmore Avenue/76 Rosemary Avenue, and ask for a determination of whether any notification was in compliance with applicable law.
Additionally, we are concerned about the placement of sex offenders in an OPWDD facility. When this facility was opened, the conditional permit granted by the City of Buffalo required the location to be used as temporary housing for developmentally disabled persons. Temporary housing was defined by the city to be limited to a 90 day stay, with an option for a 45 day extension. Any resident staying for a longer period of time, or any resident not classified as an individual with developmental disabilities would place the State in violation of the conditional permit granted by the City of Buffalo.
As you can understand, this issue is of extreme concern to the residents living near the Kenmore Avenue facility. As Inspector General, you have the ability to investigate the operations of all state agencies, including the OPWDD and DCJS. We urge you to fully investigate the decision behind placing Level II sex offenders in the Kenmore/Rosemary facility, as well as whether OPWDD is now in violation of the conditional permit granted by the City of Buffalo. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Senator Timothy Kennedy Legislator Peter Savage
63rd Senate District Erie County Legislature, District 3
Councilman Joel P. Feroleto
Buffalo Common Council, Delaware District