New York Daily News
ALBANY — Dozens of convicted sexual predators deemed too dangerous to be returned to the community after their release from prison are among the thousands who received conditional pardons from Gov. Cuomo, giving them the right to vote, the Daily News has learned.
At least 77 sexual predators sent to civil confinement in state psychiatric hospitals after their prison time was up are affected by the widespread pardons, various records show.
While the names of those in civil confinement are often shielded, a comparison of records showed the 77 predators shared one of two addresses — both of which happened to be upstate mental hospitals that house the civilly confined. One of the predators is Hector Aviles, 61, who was known as the “voodoo rapist.” Aviles was convicted of second-degree rape in Westchester County in 2008 after telling three of his victims — the oldest of whom was 16 — that if they participated in a sexual “ritual” with him, he could help them with their problems. If they didn’t, he said, bad things would happen to them and their families.
The rest of the list of 77 is littered with convicted pedophiles and rapists and other violent sexual abusers. All were granted conditional pardons from Cuomo under a new policy designed to give back the right to vote to those who leave prison.
“This is hands-down the most egregious public policy misstep Andrew Cuomo has made in his eight years as governor, and it shows that he will do virtually anything for a few extra votes,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County).
“This policy rewards the worst of the worst sexual predators and lowlifes in our society and undermines the integrity of our voting system in every way, shape and form,” Flanagan added.
The governor announced in May that more than 24,000 parolees in the first round were issued the conditional pardons.
The Daily News reported at the time that one beneficiary was convicted cop killer Herman Bell, who was granted parole earlier this year over the objections of the law enforcement community, some state lawmakers and the slain officer’s family.
Cuomo aides have argued that the wholesale pardons are automatic once someone is paroled or released from prison and they are in good standing.
“The order was straightforward and put New York on par with Washington, D.C., and 18 other states — including such liberal bastions as Utah” that either never take away voting rights from convicts or restore them upon their release from prison, Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said with some sarcasm.
He noted that all other conditions of parole or release are upheld.
“It’s unfortunate that some are using the issue of restoring voting rights to fearmonger,” Azzopardi said.
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