Police & Fire

Lake Casse Parents Concerned About Sex Offender Living Nearby

3de4e7b192433a40e9ae_48908_.jpg
Erik Reifschneider Credits: Photo Courtesy of sexoffenderrecord.com
3de4e7b192433a40e9ae_48908_.jpg

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Parents in the Lake Casse Park District and surrounding vicinity are troubled by the news that a convicted sex offender has moved into the neighborhood and are trying to raise awareness.

Mahopac News learned that Erik Dean Reifschneider, 43, moved from Kansas to Russ Street in Mahopac recently after serving nearly 13 years in state prison. According to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), Reifschneider has the designation of “sexually violent offender” and has a risk level of 2. The DCJS website states that there are three risk levels that are based upon an offender’s risk of committing another sex crime and harm to the community: Level 1 (low), Level 2 (moderate), and Level 3 (high). As a general rule, the sentencing court determines an offender’s risk level at the time of release from custody.

According to the DCJS, in May 1997, Reifschneider was convicted of aggravated criminal sodomy with a child—a crime that took place in October 1996.

Sign Up for E-News

Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari said officers went into the neighborhood where Reifschneider resides and passed out fliers with his mugshot and other information about his crime.

“We spoke to people on the street and did our due diligence to keep people informed,” the chief said. “We know there is a daycare and an elementary school, a beach and playground and community center in that area.”

But Cazzari said that Reifschneider is not on parole or probation so as long he fulfills his obligations as a registered sex offender, there is little law enforcement can do.

“He did his time in prison and is not violating the law, so we don’t have any say,” he said. “He has a constitutional  right [to be there] and we can’t violate it.”

One Lake Casse parent, who asked not to be identified, said she realizes that Reifschneider is within his rights to live there, but it is still disconcerting.

“It’s common sense that you don’t go and harass him,” said the parent of two boys, ages 6 and 7. “We just want to know what the rules are. People are surprised because it’s so close to a school (Fulmar Elementary) and we have a park right near here. All the parents at Fulmar are concerned about it. There are also children on that street (Russ Street).

“I am concerned because some of my other friends have young kids, that same age as his [2-year-old] victim,” she added. “What does this mean for us in the summertime? We want to educate everyone and make sure they are aware.”

According to the DCJS website, the Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live. However, if the offender is on parole or probation supervision, other New York State laws may limit the offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other facility caring for children. However, Reifschneider is not on parole or probation, so those restrictions would not apply to him.

As a Level 2 sex offender, Reifschneider will remain on the sex offender list for life. According to the DCJS, he must report annually where he lives by signing and returning an annual verification form within 10 days after receiving it; he must report every three years in person to the local police agency to have a current photograph taken; and he must provide in writing his internet service providers, internet screen names and email accounts.

“What is going to make him stop?” asked another Lake Casse parent. “When the kids get off the bus, the bus stop is right near his house. This is not good and it’s making everyone uneasy. We can’t have this. You can’t even have your kids play in the front yard. Never mind strangers, now you have to worry about the guy next door.”

The parent said he’s talked to his children about the situation

“I’ve educated my kids,” he said. “I showed them pictures of the guy and the car he drives. I even showed it to my youngest and told him, this is a bad guy and if he comes near you, scream, run. There are a lot of kids in this area. It only takes two seconds for something to happen. We just have to be very vigilant.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness

Facebook Provides Verification Badges for All TAPinto Facebook Pages

June 4, 2018

TAPinto and its 75 partner sites have been verified on Facebook with the social media platform's blue badge, which is given to news organizations that meet Facebook's authenticity criteria. 

Facebook gives the blue verification badge to "eligible brands, media organizations and public figures," based on factors that include policy compliance and public ...