State registry to include multiple photographs of sex offenders

Robert Blainey

The serial sex offender convicted of killing a Utica motel owner may have been more recognizable under a new law here in New York.

To make them more recognizable to police and the public, the state's Sex Offender Registry will now display multiple photographs of convicted sex offenders.

In 2012, Robert Blainey admitted to killing 68-year-old Linda Turner at the Davis Motel. A side by side comparison of two of Blainey's mug shots were remarkably different. Under this new law, police and the public would have had a more accurate depiction of how Blainey looked.

"Expanding New York's Sex Offender Registry to include multiple photographs helps ensure that we are providing the most accurate and up-to-date information on offenders living in the state," said Governor Andrew Cuomo (D, New York). "This important expansion is designed to make offenders more recognizable and account for changes in appearance, which increases public awareness and makes the Registry an even better resource for law enforcement agencies to monitor their communities. These are necessary additions that will help keep our neighborhoods safe and better protect our children."

Multiple photos of the offenders will now be posted to the registry and subdirectory as they become available. Ultimately, the goal is to have multiple photos of every registered sex offender. Prior to the change, only one photo of a sex offender was included.

There are currently 36,336 registered sex offenders in New York State, classified by risk level: Level 1, which is a low risk of re-offense; Level 2, medium risk of re-offense; and Level 3, high risk of re-offense. By law, only information about medium and high-risk offenders can be posted to the online subdirectory.

Level 1 and Level 2 offenders must update their photographs every three years, while Level 3 offenders are required to update their photographs every year. Level 3 offenders and those offenders who have been designated sexual predators also must personally verify their addresses every 90 days with law enforcement; if an offender's appearance has changed at that time, police may photograph the offender and submit the updated photo to the Registry.

Offenders on parole must also be photographed if their appearance has changed, and Parole officers are required to submit those photos to the Registry.

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