The recently alerted parents and staff that a sex offender is living at the , less than a mile down the road from .
Joseph Desapio, 55, was convicted of sexually abusing two girls, ages 5 and 7, in 1995 and sentenced to 1-3 years in prison. He is considered a risk level 2 offender and previously resided in Melville before relocating to the Northport Veterans Hospital on July 7. Northport VA spokesperson Joe Sledge said hospital administration was aware Desapio is a convicted sex offender and that his stay is not permanent.
The school district was notified of Desapio's relocation July 26 by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, as required by Megan's Law. An alert was immediately sent out via the district's "Connect-Ed" system and posted on the district website, Superintendent Marylou McDermott said Tuesday.
It's the district's second brush with a sex offender this month. The notified the school that a 47-year-old man, a known sex offender, was on the grounds of the Ocean Avenue School on July 13 around 10:30 p.m. He was not arrested, though the school and parents were notified and a notice was posted on the school website.
"We are always on constant alert," McDermott said of security at Northport-East Northport schools, adding that all staff has been provided with Desapio's information. "You need to be buzzed into our buildings, we have greeters at our elementary schools and security personnel at both of our middle schools and at the high school...Every principal and staff member knows that anything that affects the health and safety of a child or anyone in our district is to be reported to myself and employees immediately."
The state does not limit where a sex offender can live. If a sex offender is on parole or probation, the terms of the offender's parole or probation may limit where he or she can travel. If a sex offender is on probation or parole for a crime against someone under 18, or is a level 3 offender, he or she cannot enter the grounds of any school or child care facility.
Two registered sex offenders live in Northport, including Desapio, and two more in East Northport, according to the Criminal Justice Department's website.
"It is unfortunate, but necessary, that we all take this opportunity to review safety rules with our children and remind them to avoid circumstances which might increase their vulnerability" McDermott wrote in her alert to parents. "Please help your children keep this in the proper perspective by reassuring them that ours is a very safe community, but that everyone needs to be alert and careful."