Level 3 sex offender living in Pittsford nursing home | News
The Pittsford School District and Monroe County Sheriff's Office are notifying parents that a registered sex offender is living in the district.
James Connelly has taken up residence at Heather Heights Home on W. Jefferson Road. Connelly is a level 3 sex offender as described in the New York State Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). This means that the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services has determined that the risk of a repeat offense is high.
UPDATE! Here is the statement from the nursing home:
"Heather Heights has recently become aware that one (of) its newly admitted residents is a New York State registered sex offender. At the time of this resident's admission, Heather Heights was not informed that the resident was a registered sex offender. When Heather Heights learned of the situation, it immediately took several steps to ensure the safety of the residents and staff. Heather Heights has worked diligently to find alternative housing for this resident and will continue to make the safety of its facility its number one priority while the re-location process is underway."
Today, we stood outside the nursing home and talked to people who live there and their children. We spoke with one man named Bob. His father lives at Heather Heights. Bob asked that we not use his last name.
"Were you aware that they have this level 3 sex offender?" I asked.
"My wife just left me a message," he said.
"What do you think about that?" I asked.
"I don't like it. I don't like them and I don't like it," he said. "My general reaction is I have very little use for sex offenders. I don't like them here. I don't like them anywhere."
We also spoke with Nick Krauszer who lives at Heather Heights.
"Tell me his name again?" Mr. Krauszer asked.
"James Connolly," I answered.
"James Connolly? I haven't heard anything," he said. "We're pretty well protected. I mean it's not like having a private home someplace but I still don't like it of course."
Mr. Krauszer was being driven from the nursing by his friend Dana Jones. "If he was 25 (years old) that's one thing," Jones said. "If he's in here he's 65, 70 years old. How much trouble can he get into?"
We also spoke to the Reverend Dr. David Hess, the pastor at West Henrietta Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Hess has taken on the mantle of defending convicted sex offenders who have done their prison time.
"His victims were children. Children are not living in a place like that. He's lived safely in the community for 8 years. You know, he has to live somewhere," Rev. Dr. Hess said.
Rev. Dr. Hess says there are myths when it comes to sex offenders. For instance, referencing data from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services, Hess says only 11% of level 3 sex offenders repeat their crime within eight years of their initial registration as a sex offender. He also says 95% of all arrest sex offenders in New York were not on a registered list (in other words, it was their first time).
Hess says there is no reason for people to be afraid. In fact, he says the nursing home may be the most ideal situation for Connolly and the community.
"The most important things to keep (sex offenders) from repeating their crimes are stable housing, stable employment, stable family support. Any kind of law that would destabilize those things actually increases the risk to communities and to people. So if we're concerned about former offenders not repeating their crimes we want to make sure they live in stable housing, have stable employment, have stable family support."
But what about the grandchildren that come to visit their grandparents?
"I'm sure that the grandchildren that are going to be there particularly if they're young children, 8 or 9 years old, they're not going there by themselves. They're going there with someone else. There are other people there that know the situation and are watching people. We're speaking about a gentleman who is very elderly. Again, I don't think there is any reason for fear about this."
For more information on this individual, you can visit the New York State Criminal Justice website by clicking here. In addition, residents of New York can now register at the above website to receive alerts when moderate- or high-risk sex offenders move into or out of their area. The NY-ALERT System will send alerts through email or as a text message, fax or telephone recording.