This is the amount of time the Republican-controlled Common Council (led my sex offender author, Mary Teicholtz) has knowingly allowed an idiotic loophole in the sex offender ordinance to stay in effect. This alarming and grossly irresponsible loophole has tied the hands of the police department from properly enforcing the sex offender ordinance and keep sexual predators away from YOUR children.
For information on this loophole, we need to go back in time:
During the Common Council meeting, in an attempt re-visit several problems with the ordinance, Tom Saadi offered an amendment to fix one of the various loopholes in the ordinance (note the portion in bold):Mr. Saadi moved to amend the main motion to change the language in Section (3) Enforcement Procedure, that reads “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in the same Child Safety Zone....” to “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in “a” or “any” Child Safety Zone....”. Seconded by Mr. Chianese. Mr. Saadi stated that the current language would allow offenders to “zone hop”.
Zone Hop basically means the following. As the ordinance is written, if a sex offender is in a Child Safety Zone, the police will give one warning; if that person is caught in the same Child Safety Zone a second time, then he'll gets a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, under the current language, the offender is only slapped on the wrist if he's found in the same Safety Zone two times as opposed to being caught in ANY Safety Zone in Danbury.
Seems silly (a.k.a. a loophole)
Saadi's amendment would have changes the language in such a way so if a sex offender is found in ANY child Safety zone a second time, he'd get a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, if an offender is in a Child Safety Zone, he'll be in violation of the ordinance and be fined if he's found in ANY Safety Zone as opposed to the same Safety Zone.
Republican At-Large Council member Mary Saracino joined the Democrats in approving the amendment but once again the Republican-majority rejected a Democratic-sponsored amendment in an effort to rush the entire proposal though the process. In the video, you'll notice the frustration among many Democrats (most notably Duane Perkins and Ben Chianese) who wanted to pass the ordinance free of any loopholes that allows any offender to get around the ordinance.
In the end, all but one council member approved the ordinance and in conversations with several Democrats who approved the ordinance, they plan to address several of the loopholes in the ordinance in the future. If one is concerned about the welfare of children, then every step should be taken by the common council to fix the loopholes so this ordinance has the real enforcement capability it needs.
Now, the above post was written about the debate on the sex offender ordinance back in DECEMBER of 2006.
Here's video highlights of the debate on the ordinance including Saadi's informing the council of the loophole, his attempts to fix the problem, the Republican's objections, and the outrage that developed afterwards.
(You can watch the entire debate by clicking here).
VOTE ON TOM SAADI'S ZONE-HOP AMENDMENT
McMahon (R-1st Ward): No
Nagarsheth (R-1st Ward): No
Johnson (R-2nd Ward): No
Trombetta (R-2nd Ward): No
Cavo (R-3rd Ward): No
Esposito (D-4th Ward): Yes
Saadi (D-4th Ward): Yes
Perkins (D-5th Ward): Yes
Visconti (D-5th Ward): Yes
Chianese (D-6th Ward): Yes
Basso (R-At Large): No
Diggs (R-7th Ward): No
Teicholz (R-7th Ward): No
Cutsumpas (R-At Large): No
Riley (R-At Large): No
Saracino (R-At Large): Yes
Taborsak (D-At Large): Yes
Knowing that the ordinance will tie the hands of the police department from enforcing the spirit of the ordinance (keeping offenders from children), the Republicans (for the exception of Mary Saracino) refused to change one simple word that would have added the teeth to the ordinance the police needed. Instead, for 1 year, 6 months and 26 days, the ordinance was led to people having a false sense of security which could have been easily avoided.
Now that you understand the origins of this deeply flawed ordinance, later I'll go through everything that has happened since the passage of this ordinance and highlight other problems I've noted about this law that has (to this point) not been resolved.