NEW YORK — Repeat and high-risk sex offenders would be banned from the MTA tranist system under a new law proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The NYPD announced support for the ban when Cuomo suggested it in March of 2019. The ban would apply to offenders for three years and blocks them from the subway, bus and rail systems.
“MTA riders deserve to feel safe, and we have an obligation to ensure they will not be targeted by sex offenders,” Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday. “Enough is enough. If we want our public transit system to improve, we need balance between someone’s right to access public transit and the riders’ right to safety, which is why I am proposing a three-year ban from the MTA transit systems as a penalty for individuals who repeatedly engage in this abhorrent behavior.”
In October, NYPD Special Victim’s Unit Deputy Chief Judith Harrison said sex assault on the subway is part of a disturbing trend.
“One sex crime is one sex crime too many. So an increase of 10 percent, certainly we’re alarmed about,” Harrison said at the time. “Please know that we are out there. Please know that we want to help you. We want to keep you safe. You have an absolute right to utilize the train system and be safe while doing that.”
The Legal Aid Society delivered a rebuke to the plan.
“No one supports unwanted sexual touching on the subway, but this wrongheaded proposal from Governor Cuomo will do far more harm than good. It will further marginalize this group of New Yorkers – many of whom are New Yorkers of color – who are profiled by police when they use mass transit. It will sever their access to jobs, critical services, educational opportunities, and treatment programs. Albany should spend less time finding new ways to demonize our already over-policed clients and more time creating opportunities for treatment and necessary services. Finally, we question the constitutionality of this misguided proposal and we are prepared to challenge it in court should it become law.”