A resident first learned of as many as eight sex offenders being housed at the Anchor Inn Motel at 215-34 Northern Boulevard last week through a sex offender registry, and then posted the information to Facebook.
News quickly spread, and the owners of the motel posted their own messages on the social media site stating they were unaware that the men, who they say were placed there by the Greater New York chapter of the Red Cross, were sex offenders.
The owners further stated that the men have since been moved.
A spokesperson for the Red Cross said they were contacted by the Department of Correction and Community Supervision to assist in emergency housing for the men after they were ordered to vacate the three-quarter-house they were staying in on March 22. It’s not clear why they were forced to leave.
The Red Cross has a contract with the city to help find emergency housing when a civil building is vacated, which means the agency facilitates the hotel booking. In this case, the spokesperson said the city advised them to find lodging for the men at a local hotel.
The spokesperson added that the Red Cross strictly adheres to all state and local guidelines, and also said the agency was no longer involved with housing the men who were sent to the Anchor Inn.
Last Thursday, elected officials joined residents outside the motel to denounce the process that placed sex offenders across the street from a pre-K school. According to state law, sex offenders on probation or parole are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a school.
“Nothing can be more alarming than news that violent sex offenders have been placed in your community,” said State Senator John Liu. “Worse yet, these placements appear to be in clear violation of state law.”
However, there are no restrictions on where a person on the registry may live if they are no longer on parole or probation.
Elected officials said they would continue to investigate how the men ended up at the Anchor Inn.
“Let’s make sure this is not happening on a regular basis,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “Everyone needs to be held accountable.”
Until there are facts to the contrary, Liu said he would take the owner of the motel at their word that they were unaware the men were registered sex offenders and this was just one unfortunate situation.
“We’re not trying to unfairly tag any business,” he said. “Until I have reason not to believe them, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.”