New York City officials didn’t make any friends among parents, when details emerged about pedophiles being placed in homeless shelters next to schools.
Five registered sex offenders were placed inside a homeless shelter in Manhattan’s Financial District, which is surrounded by schools, according to information obtained by the New York Post.
Nor is it the first time the city has done so, reportedly dumping convicted pedophiles at the Belleclaire hotel near an upper West Side playground in August of 2020.
Parents are, once again, absolutely livid. One Financial District mother told the Post that “As parents, we cannot count on local government to look out for our children. I am not opposed to helping those in need and providing shelters for the homeless in my community, but I am against placing violent pedophiles within a block of schools.”
The shelter in question is the former Radisson Hotel at 52 William Street, which became a “temporary” shelter in March of 2020. It is in a surprisingly high profile neighborhood, and only two blocks from the famous New York Stock Exchange building, and also less than a block from the Pine Street School for both preschool and elementary students, as well as another school, and a separate daycare.
The four men are still there as of Thursday, according to the New York state official sex-offender registry, even though the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) claimed to have relocated them in emails obtained by the Post, as a result of the sharp outcry from local parents and the community in general.
Among the convicted offenders are listed as Lee Jackson, 42, a Level 3 violent sexual offender, who received 10 years in prison for assaulting a 7-year-old Brooklyn girl in 2005. Jackson was also convicted of manslaughter, in a possibly unrelated crime and was paroled in 2016.
Lonzel McNeil, 53, is also a Level 3 offender, convicted of raping an 11-year-old Brooklyn girl in 1993, and was paroled in 2000. Francis Harrison, 49, was convicted of 1st degree rape, making him a Level 3 offender as well. Since McNeil, Harrison, and Jackson are not currently on parole, there was no law prohibiting them from being placed within 1,000 feet of a school, despite Level 3 offenders being the worst and most severe classification of sex offenders under New York law.
The other two offenders, Thomas Libby, 66, and Curtis Thompson, 57, are considered less serious due to nonviolent offenses, but are still convicted pedophiles on the sex offender registry. Libby was convicted for possession of child pornography, and Thompson was convicted of “forcible touching another person’s sexual/intimate parts.”
Even local homeless expressed outrage at the placement of the sex offenders. One homeless man, Don Parker,was very upset when he found out he’d be sharing the shelter with convicted pedophiles, telling the Post “If you got kids you should feel the same way. There are certain things you just don’t do.”
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