Rep. Lancia to introduce legislation aimed at sex offenders
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Robert Lancia (R-Dist.16, Cranston) has introduced legislation (2017-H 5159) to restrict the number of sex offenders housed in state-funded/state-assisted residential facilities.
Lancia’s bill will stop the number of registered sex offenders from surpassing 10 percent of the residential facility’s units and prevent sex offenders from numbering more than 10 percent of the facility’s population.
“I am submitting this legislation as a proactive measure, before we have a tragedy on top of the heartbreak these offenders have already caused,” said Lancia. “For example, in my district, there are approximately eighty residents total at Harrington Hall and about thirty-five of them are sex offenders. That’s an unacceptable high-risk for my constituents, especially our vulnerable children.”
Lancia was driven to draft his legislation after learning that Dana Waters, a serial child molester and Level 3 Sex Offender, was released from prison after serving 18 years for molesting nearly a dozen children in the late 1990’s. Lancia was told that he will now be living in Cranston’s Harrington Hall. Level 3 offenders are deemed high-risk to offend again.
Harrington Hall is a residential facility lodged between Pontiac Avenue and New London Avenue, and many Harrington residents are free to leave unattended during the day.
“There are three elementary schools very close to Harrington Hall, and Brayton Park baseball/softball fields and playground is literally ‘across the street’,” said Lancia. “Waters is just one of the many dangerous sex offenders with ample opportunity to re-offend.”
Lancia added, “I want to go on record saying this is a recipe for disaster. If we don’t do something now, the public can blame the General Assembly for any tragedy that occurs. This is a very crucial issue!”
Lancia emphasizes that while he believes in rehabilitation, he will not leave his constituents susceptible to harm or ask them to put their children at stake.
“Right now, reducing the number of sex offenders per facility will reduce any potential risk, but Harrington Hall is a growing problem in Cranston,” Lancia said. “Further, that’s just one facility in our state. I will work with state leaders to find an even better across-the-board solution to this disconcerting and outright alarming danger.”
For more information, contact:
Raina C. Smith, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903