New York’s new bail reform law is being blamed for the release of a dangerous registered sex offender after his arrest for trespassing outside a nursery school.
Mark Nelson wasn’t required to post any bail after he saw a judge on the misdemeanor charge Thursday, angering prosecutors, WABC-TV reported.
“The facts of this case are really unnerving, inside a fenced-in area in essentially a nursery or day care area with women and young children,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said, according to the station.
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Nelson is listed in the New York Sex Offender Registry as a Level 3 offender. He was required to register after serving a six-year prison sentence for attempting to sodomize two girls, ages 10 and 11, in 1996.
Level 3 sex offenders are considered those at the highest risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety.
The registry lists his address as a motel in New Windsor.
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The bail reform law, which eliminates the requirement for bail in cases that involve non-violent crimes, has faced criticism in other cases since its enactment Jan. 1.
New Windsor police said Nelson was lurking in the playground Tuesday when two women and two children emerged from the nursery school next door. The women, who were employed by the nursery school, told police they retreated to their vehicle after Nelson approached them and attempted to make contact with them.
He’s due back in court at a later date.
Nelson is also facing charges in another case, Fox News learned.
Online records show on Feb. 13 he was arrested on a warrant for failing to verify his address as required for sex offenders.
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In that case he was also released on his own recognizance.