Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has issued conditional pardons to dozens of convicted sexual predators, allowing them the right to vote, the New York Daily News reported.
Among the thousands who've received conditional pardons in recent months, nearly 80 have been deemed too dangerous to return to the community after being released from prison.
In May, Cuomo announced that he had restored the right to vote for more than 24,000 parolees in his first wave of conditional pardons.
"The right to vote is fundamental and it is unconscionable to deny that basic right of citizenship to New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society," Cuomo said in a release at the time. "Restoring a voice to men and women reentering their communities will strengthen our democracy, as well as the reentry process, which in-turn will help reduce recidivism."
At least 77 sexual predators, who were pardoned and seen as unfit to return to their communities, were ordered to one of two state psychiatric hospitals for civil confinement, according to the Daily News.
Among the sexual predators pardoned is Hector Aviles, 61, who was convicted of second-degree rape in 2008. He was called the "voodoo rapist" and told his young victims he could help them with their problems if they participated in a sexual ritual with him. He threatened them and their families if they didn't comply with him.
The rest of the list includes convicted pedophiles, rapists, and other violent sexual abusers, the Daily News reported.
What do other New York lawmakers say?
“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,” New York state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R) told the Daily News. “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."
Herman Bell, 70, a three-time cop killer who was granted parole earlier this year, was also among those pardoned.
The law enforcement community criticized Cuomo for the move, but his aides have argued that the wholesale pardons are automatically granted when someone is paroled or released from prison, as long as they are in good standing.
(H/T: New York Daily News)