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Sex offender causing stir in Walden

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Albany/HV: Sex offender causing stir in Walden
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A Level 3 sex offender moved in across the street from an elementary school. It's a situation that's causing quite a stir in the Village of Walden. Christian Farrell has more on what local officials are trying to do to send this sexual predator packing.

WALDEN, N.Y. -- "It's the talk of the town," said Walden resident Libbie Taylor.

That talk, according to Taylor, centers around this man: 38-year-old Brian Freeland.
He is the newest resident on Orchard Street in Walden. Freeland is a Level 3 sex offender, and residents say to make matters worse, he's now living across the street from an elementary school.

"I was always under the impression that there were laws against it. So, I was really surprised when I found out that it's right across the street from us - which is right across the street from the school," said Taylor.

Michael Conklin says he won't let his grandchildren out of his sight since learning he now has a neighbor who has spent time behind bars for sexually abusing a four-year-old girl.

"We sit out here and watch them. Don't let them go too far," said Conklin.

Tuesday evening, village officials took up the argument of a registered sex offender living in proximity to the Walden Elementary School. Their proposal: new legislation implementing "Child Safety Zones."

"It would not allow a sex offender, second degree or third degree, living within 500 feet of an elementary school, a daycare, anywhere where children would be at play," said Walden Mayor Brian Maher.

It appears now though that Brian Freeland's stay in Walden won't be long, at least not on Orchard Street just down the block from the elementary school.

Donnie Schoonmaker lives at 90 Orchard Street. For the past month and a half, he says he's shared his apartment with Freeland. But Schoonmaker says that's changing.

"Brian is moving out today. I asked him to leave. When this first happened, when I first found out about everything, I did not want to upset the neighborhood, or the neighbors, or the school or anything. That was not my intent," said Schoonmaker.

Village officials say regardless of any change residency for Freeland, a public hearing and a vote on the proposed law will still go as planned July 24th.

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