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Lawsuit Challenges New York's Child Abuse Registry

By Jasmyn Belcher

Oswego, NY – A new lawsuit aims to address concerns regarding New York's child abuse registry hearings.

Dating back to 2003, up to 25,000 people on the registry had requested hearings. Those requests were backlogged for several years, and some were shredded. Attorney Thomas Hoffman says it still takes nearly one year to get a hearing, despite the fact that 50 to 75 percent of people are removed from the list after a hearing. He says child abusers should be made known to employers, but individual rights must also be protected.

"If you're on the list," says Hoffman, "there's very little likelihood you're going to be employed by a child daycare center, because the employer doesn't know why you're on the list, all they know is you're on the list of child abuse or maltreatment. So that ranges from the parent who forgets to put the seat belt on their child to a pedophile."

Hoffman says, unlike the state's sex offender registry, people can be added to the child abuse list without having been convicted of a crime. A federal judge is expected to rule in September on how long it should take to get a hearing.