New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) placed two convicted pedophiles and three other sex offenders in a homeless shelter near schools in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.
The five men were located at the Radisson Hotel at 52 William Street in Manhattan’s financial district as the hotel had been turned into a homeless shelter in March of 2020, the Post reported. According to New York’s sex-offender registry, as recently as October 21, the hotel was listed as the address for four of the men, the outlet reports.
“As parents, we cannot count on local government to look out for our children,” a mom who resides in the area told the Post.
“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 with a block of schools,” she added.
The shelter is located two blocks away from the New York Stock exchange building and is less than a block away from the Pine Street School for children in Pre-K and elementary school students, the Post reports. The outlet says another school and a daycare facility are within 500 feet of the shelter.
According to DHS emails obtained by the Post, community members’ concerns apparently led to the relocation of the men. The emails reportedly say that the DHS “resolved” the “placement issues at this site.”
— New York Post (@nypost) October 22, 2021
Forty-two-year-old Lee Jackson was one of the men at the shelter, the Post reports. He is a level three sexually violent offender who was paroled in 2016. Jackson served ten years for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl in Brooklyn in 2005. The outlet says that he has also been convicted of manslaughter, but it is not clear if the crimes shared a connection.
Lonzel McNeil, 53, was also placed in the shelter, the Post reports. McNeil was found guilty of raping an 11-year-old girl in 1993 and was paroled in 2000.
It is against state law for paroled level three sex offenders to be within 1000 feet of a school, but Jackson and McNeil are no longer on parole, according to the Post.
A mother of two young children at the Pine Street School says she fears for her family’s safety. “Families no longer feel safe. We don’t feel our kids are safe…I used to take nightly walks, 10 to 11 p.m. I no longer leave my house alone at night,” she told the Post.
52-year-old Don Parker, a homeless resident of the Radisson, told the Post that parents’ concerns were warranted. “If you got kids you should feel the same way. There are certain things you just don’t do,” Parker said.
In August of 2020, Mayor Bill De Blasio moved thousands of the city’s homeless into iconic and luxury hotels in the city, Breitbart reported. The move included homeless sex offenders and prompted multiple meetings between concerned upper east side residents and the volunteer crime-fighting organization the Guardian Angels.
The Post reported that six homeless pedophiles were placed in the Belleclaire Hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, during the August 2020 relocation. The hotel is just a block’s distance from a playground and an elementary school.
The outlet reports that Isaac McGinn, a spokesperson for the DHS, said in a written statement that homeless individuals were placed in shelters “in accordance with State law, based on the information available to us via State databases – which are not updated live or in real-time.”
“While we cannot discuss any specific cases or disclose confidential case histories, which would violate NYS Social Services Law, at this time there are no [registered sex offenders] currently residing at this location,” McGinn went on to state.