Health official: Policy allowing sex offenders in group homes under review

(WHAM photo)

Albany, N.Y. (13WHAM) - The New York State Mental Health Commissioner finally responded to concerns over allowing sex offenders in group homes on Thursday.

“The practice that is long standing is that, yes, sex offenders have been placed in our residences, yes," Commissioner Ann Sullivan told 13WHAM's sister station, WRGB.

In September, Michael Carey, an advocate for safer group homes, told 13WHAM he's found at least five sex offenders living in Monroe County group homes.

Carey's son, Jonathan, died in 2007 in a group home. Since then, he's working to try and make the homes safer, which he believes begins with removing sex offenders from all the residences.

"This practice has to be stopped, and has to be stopped now," said Carey. "It’s good this is coming to light, and I believe the state is going to be forced to stop it."

According to Commissioner Sullivan, a review of the policy allowing sex offenders is already underway. She says the state is keeping a close eye on residents moving into state-run group homes.

“I have to repeat again that we are reviewing the practice which has been there for a while, and we are going to be taking a hard look at it but we are now doing very careful assessments for anyone who goes into any of our housing," she said.

Carey says he's glad the commissioner finally weighed in on his concerns. But he says he'd rather see results.

"It’s the tip of the ice berg, a lot more is going to be coming out," said Carey. "It’s time for the governor and the attorney general to take action."

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