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NOV 18- NOV 26, 2014

Pescrillo’s Chilton Ave. Warehouse For Sex Offenders Now Strictly a Money Maker

By Mike Hudson

November 18, 2014

Maybe they will do no harm; by all accounts they live quietly; but these five sex offenders, from l-r, Thomas Chew, Joseph Edmiston, Dale Goff, Philip Howard and Ricky Horton, all live at 681 Chilton, making their landlord Ralph Pescrillo extra money and the neighbors - quite candidly - uneasy.

Back in 2005, a 24 year old by the name of Joseph Edmiston raped a 15 year old girl here in Niagara Falls. He was a stranger to the girl, and ultimately the charge was reduced to attempted rape in return for a guilty plea. He did a year in the county jail and will remain branded for the rest of his life as a Level 2 sex offender.

He’s now living on Chilton Avenue, in a group home for sex offenders owned by a man named Ralph T. Pescrillo. The home was about to be foreclosed last year, but Pescrillo filed bankruptcy on July 23, 2013, which stopped the foreclosure while he arranges for payments to a long list of creditors.

Emiston is one of five sex offenders housed at the house Pescrillo owns at 681 Chilton Ave., a formerly posh Niagara Falls neighborhood that has now fallen into decline. In 1999 he paid $47,000 for the six bedroom Victorian, which had been built in 1910 as a single family residence but was later converted into a two family home.

While the bankrupt Pescrillo is enjoying a moratorium on having to make mortgage payments and other bills associated with owning as many as 100 properties in the city, the money he makes from housing his sex offenders in what was once a bucolic family neighborhood, tax money supplied by various state and county agencies, just keeps rolling in.

The system is such that it is very much to Pescrillo's advantage to rent to sex offenders rather than normal families.

While the house is technically a two family home, Pescrillo uses it as a rooming house allowing more sex offenders to pay more for their quarters.

While one of his Chilton Ave, three bedroom apartments rented to a family might rent for $700 per month, renting them by the room is more lucrative.

Sex offenders pay as much as $600 per room - paid by the state and county - meaning that Pescrillo can collect as much as $3,600 for his six bedroom home, instead of $1,400 he might collect if he rented both flats to normal families.

Since sex offenders have difficulties finding suitable housing and because of monitoring, they are likely to be quiet. They make ideal candidates for unofficial rooming houses.

Unlike your typical rooming house inmate, someone who is poor, might be on drugs, and usually cannot afford to rent an apartment, sex offenders are paying as much for a room as they would for an apartment, to landlords like Pescrillo.

And are generally fearful of causing any trouble.

While their pasts may be odious, generally sex offenders live quietly, as neighbors admit they have done so far on Chilton.

Yet it is the perception that tarnishes the neighborhood.

While they may never commit an offense on Chilton, the men who reside there have a creepy history.

Newer residents at Pescrillo’s Chilton Ave house include Ricky Wayne Horton, who was convicted of molesting a girl under the age of 11 in 2005, and Philip Howard, who was convicted of attempting to rape a girl under the age of 15 in 2010.

Other sexual offenders living at 681 Chilton include 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 6 year old girl. Thomas Chew, 53, is classified as a violent sexual offender by the state Parole Board and was convicted of forcing his wife’s children - two young girls, aged 11 and 13, to engage in oral and anal sex with him.

Reached by telephone on Sunday, Pescrillo said he didn’t want to talk about his tenants, the foreclosure, his bankruptcy or anything else.

“I’m not interested in talking to the Niagara Falls Reporter,” he said before hanging up.

There are currently 164 registered sex offenders in Niagara Falls, one for about every 286 men, women and children living in the city. This number is more than double what it was seven years ago, when fewer than 70 registered sex offenders lived in the city. Currently Niagara Falls has the highest number of registered sex offenders per capita of any municipality in the state.


In a recent interview, city Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said the high number of registered sex offenders here is a big problem. There are actually nine more sexual predators here than there are police officers.

“The sex offender issue is a battle we’ve been fighting,” he told the Niagara Falls Reporter. “A number of the sex offenders here are from Niagara Falls, committed their crimes here, and that’s our responsibility to deal with that. But a lot of them are being brought in from elsewhere, because we have cheap housing or whatever, and I have a big problem with that.”

Meanwhile, Chilton Avenue residents, many of whom have children and grandchildren living with them, say that their repeated appeals to City Hall concerning the situation have fallen on deaf ears.

“I’ve called I don’t know how many times, the mayor, city Council members, and have never gotten a call back,” said one woman who asked not to be identified. “We’ve lived here for 20 years, paid taxes, and are now seeing our property values reduced to nothing because of this.”

Asked about the problem some years ago, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said sexual predators “have to live somewhere,” and former state Rep. Francine DelMonte co-authored the bill that allowed registered sex offenders to be placed in group living operations in what had been otherwise peaceful residential neighborhoods.

Since that time, at least two convicted sex offenders, Richard S. Ribis and Mark M. Miles, have committed further sex crimes in Niagara Falls.

Back in 2011, Ribis was sent to prison for three years by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza after pleading guilty to attempted second-degree rape and possession of a sexual performance by a child. A Level 1 sex offender because of a prior misdemeanor, Ribis had sex with an underage girl in the late spring or early summer of 2008, and was found to have downloaded child pornography onto his girlfriend's computer.

In a separate case, Judge Matthew Murphy III placed Mark M. Miles, 28, of 19th Street, on interim probation for a year pending a final sentencing decision. Miles, a Level 3 sex offender because of a 2002 child molestation conviction, had pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct for an incident with an underage girl in September 2009.

Overall, records show, however, a lower rate of recidivism among sex offenders than other groups of felons.

A 2002 study by the United States Department of Justice indicated that recidivism rates among sex offenders was 5.3 percent; that is, about 1 in 19 of released sex offenders were later arrested for another sex crime. The same study mentioned that 68 percent of released non-sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (both sex and non-sex offenses), while 43 percent of the released sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (and 24 percent re-convicted).

A collection of official studies spanning the years 1983–2010 for all 50 states and the federal government of the US showed the average recidivism of sex offenders committing new sex crimes since 1983 is approximately 9 percent, compared to the 42 percent average recidivism rate for all felony offenders committing any new felony offense.

According to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) of the United States Department of Justice, in New York State, the recidivism rate for sex offenders has been shown to be lower than any other crime except murder.

The lower recidivism rate may be in large part due to the sex offender registry, a system in place designed to allow authorities to keep track of the residence and activity of sex offenders including those released from prison. Information in the registry is made available to the public via a website.

Registered sex offenders are subject to additional restrictions that those on parole or probation for other crimes are not, such as restrictions on being in the presence of minors, living in proximity to a school or daycare center, or owning toys or other items of interest to minors.

681 Chilton, where at least five sex offenders live. While neighbors say the men live quietly and without incident, their presence has changed the tenor of the neighborhood.






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