Sex Offenders Galore on Formerly
Posh and Historic Chilton Avenue
By Mike Hudson
You might say Ralph Pescrillo is in the importing business. He imports sex offenders, parolees and other undesirables from throughout Western New York into Niagara Falls, where he houses them in one or another of the 103 properties he owns throughout the city.
He’s gone bankrupt as recently as 2009, was arrested by Lockport police in 2010 on a possession of a forged instrument rap, and has been behind in his property taxes in 2011 and 2012 here.
He’s also a close neighbor of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster on Orchard Parkway and is exactly the sort of enterprising entrepreneur the mayor wants and needs to prop up city census numbers and bring even more state and federal revenue into a municipality desperately seeking new private sector jobs that Dyster has been unable to create despite all his spending.
There’s big money in sex offenders. Because nobody will hire them, every aspect of their existence needs to be subsidized by the state, using your tax dollars. Medical care, food, shelter, you name it. You are picking up the tab. you are picking up the tab.
And Ralph Pescrillo and his ilk don’t mind making the best of a bad situation, turning lemons into lemonade and profiting on the misery of others.
In 1999, he paid $47,000 for a six-bedroom, two bath Victorian style home located at 681 Chilton Ave. The house, built in 1910, had once been a single family home but more recently underwent a conversion to a two-unit apartment house.
Chilton Avenue used to be one of the prestige neighborhoods in the city, home to doctors, bankers and lawyers. The houses are large and the 19th Century architecture is often stunning. The street is lined with century-old maples and the sound of children playing on warm summer nights adds to the bucolic ambience.
But, like one of the strange twists in the plot of an old “Twilight Zone” episode, Pescrillo proceeded to load up the house he’d bought with dangerous sex offenders.
Offenders like Thomas Chew, 53, who was classified as sexually violent by the state Parole Board and was convicted of forcing two young girls, ages 11 and 13, to engage in oral and anal sex with him.
Or Dale Goff, 51, a hulking 250-pounder who molested two boys, ages 6 and 10, in 1992, did a prison stretch, and on release in 2006, attempted to rape a five-year-old girl.
In all, Pescrillo currently has six deviants, child rapists and other molesters living at 681 Chilton Ave. They represent a clear and present danger in what was formerly one of the city’s nicest neighborhoods. He doesn’t have to worry about collecting the rent, as the checks come directly from the state as regular as clockwork.
Neighbors on Chilton have complained to City Hall, saying he’s running a rooming house in an area not zoned for such use, but thus far the Dyster administration has turned a deaf ear.
“I’ve got a four-year-old grandson who visits me here,” said Jane, a close neighbor who is fearful of having her real name used. “Now I can’t let him out of the house by himself.”
Jane said she has personally complained to Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, who is also a neighbor of Pescrillo’s on Orchard Parkway. Grandinetti has done nothing to address the problem, she said.
So successful has Pescrillo’s business of importing sex offenders into the city been, no less an institution than the Niagara Falls Housing Authority has decided to follow his lead.
In December of 2012, a Maryland-based non-for-profit organization called Oxford House purchased a home at 628 Chilton Ave., in the heart of the historic district Dyster worked so hard to create. An impressive Victorian with a turret and six bedrooms, Oxford House picked it up for $40,000. It had been converted into a two unit apartment at some time in it’s more recent past, but the not for profit wasn’t interested in restoring it.
The real estate listing described it as a "stately two family in an Historic District with all the original character intact. Front and rear porches that you can hear the mighty Niagara Falls roar.”
“Historic preservation district gives 20 percent tax credit for owner occupants, 40 percent for investors,” the listing read. “These are move-in ready units for owner occupants or rentals. Demand rental area with bus station and shopping at the end of the street.”
Oxford House claims that its purpose is to provide housing for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, but the fact that many of these have recently been released from prison, often for sex offenses, is not mentioned in their literature.
Not for profit agencies helped fill the house for the sex offenders.
“There were Housing Authority trucks there every day, bringing in beds, television sets and furniture,” Jane said. “They made it real nice for them.”
Between Pescrillo and Oxford House six registered sex offenders live on Chilton, driving down property values on the street even further.
“When they made this a historic district, we thought the value of our home would go up,” Jane said. “Who knew that the tax credits and other benefits would attract operations like this?”
Back in 2011, when Dyster made Chilton Avenue and his own street, Orchard Parkway, into an official historic district, critics cried foul, thinking the move was motivated by the mayor’s desire to increase the value of his own home.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Nov 19, 2013