Norwich Families Concerned About Sex Offenders Living in Halfway House

Eleven-year-old Lohanny Baez says ever since discovering three sex offenders live in one house on her street she doesn't feel safe going out alone.

"I go to the bus stop every day, and I'm scared to stand there by myself. So I have to wait for my friends," Baez said.

In an effort to address concerns, the Norwich Neighborhood Watch held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the halfway house on Broad Street. The gathering was emotional at times as many neighbors asked the police as well as city and state officials what they need to do to have the situation go away.

Vincent Cardente and his family live across the street from the halfway house and says he doesn't believe it's appropriate to have them there.

"I don't understand how you put them right on the corner for a bus stop for two to three different buses," said Cardente.

On the sex offender registry there are 19 offenders living within a half mile radius. The Department of Corrections says they placed two offenders inside the Broad Street home. The other offender at the house is under the care of the Probation Department. The DOC did not attend Tuesday's meeting but did recently speak with city leaders and say it was a productive and informative meeting with a positive outcome. They add that the offenders are intensely supervised.

Not all neighbors are against the halfway house with some saying that the offenders have already served their time.

"The bottom line is we can't put them in a boat and send them somewhere because we just don't like our neighbors," said Kim O'Brien.

State senators who attended the meeting say they're looking at legislative changes including guidelines for placement of halfway houses and providing more information on the sex offender registry.

City leaders say they plan to have quarterly meetings with DOC to further open the lines of communication

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