Jan. 8--ALBANY -- Gov. Cuomo wants to bar serial subway sex offenders from riding the rails.
The governor introduced a plan Tuesday that would prohibit pervs who commit repeat sex-related violations, or are high-risk sex offenders, from using MTA buses or trains for three years.
"MTA riders deserve to feel safe, and we have an obligation to ensure they will not be targeted by sex offenders," Cuomo said. "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."
Cuomo last year called on the MTA to impose lifetime bans for creeps preying on straphangers amid a rash of reported incidents.
The governor's former chief counsel, Alphonso David, also floated a law earlier last year that would have imposed a "prohibition order" on anyone convicted of crimes on the subway such as lewd behavior, unwanted forcible touching or threatening violence.
District Attorneys in the five boroughs said at the time that there is no legal mechanism to bar people from the subway, and MTA officials weren't sure how they would enforce bans on individual riders. But MTA board members passed a resolution in June calling for serial subway sex offenders to be banned from the system.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) that would have stiffened penalties for repeat subway sickos passed the Senate unanimously, but failed to even get a committee vote in the Assembly.
Cuomo's new proposal, part of his State of the State Address to be unveiled Wednesday, also allows judges to issue a ban on the subway for someone convicted of a "transit-related sex crime" or to issue a temporary prohibition as a condition of pre-trial release for those accused of a transit sex crime.
The Legal Aid Society slammed the measure, vowing a legal challenge and arguing that it would unfairly target minorities and "sever their access to jobs, critical services, educational opportunities, and treatment programs."
"No one supports unwanted sexual touching on the subway, but this wrongheaded proposal from Governor Cuomo will do far more harm than good," the group said in a statement. "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."
"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," it added.
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