Despite vocal and emotional protests from parents in Luther Forest, the town board Monday, Oct. 1, said it has no legal options to keep Michael Foley, a Level 2 registered sex offender, from living within a housing area filled with children.
Donna Duval is a resident living on Pepper Bush Road near Wake Robin Road, where the Level 2 offender has taken residence. She presented a petition with signatures of other concerned parents, and implored the board to take action.
There are tons of children living there; it's like a candy store with all the candy in front of him, said Duval. "Our kids are afraid to go outside and play basketball, and that's tragic that they have to pay the price for what this man has done. All it takes is the blink of an eye to grab a child."
Worse still, Duval said, before parents knew about the man's criminal record, he allegedly had children inside his house and in his yard.
"He's invited kids in to see his pets, and had a water gun fight with them, soaking their clothing," said Duval. "If that's not a sign of repeating a crime, I don't know what is."
Foley, a 58-year-old man living at 16 Wake Robin, was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse for crimes involving a 13- and 14-year-old female. A Level 2 sex offender is classified as being at moderate risk to society.
Town council member Cliff Lange immediately suggested Duvall contact the probation officer involved in monitoring the man's activities.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said by law, the board can only place restrictions on Level 3 offenders. Those regulations include keeping the offender at least one mile away from schools, parks, or areas where children congregate.
"We have enforced regulations on Level 3 offenders to keep them in compliance," said Sausville. "I'm very sympathetic; we're just trying to find a legal, practical way to help."