Neighbors of a recently disclosed housing facility for sex offenders in Sagaponack mounted a protest last week, and Hamptons Police Department officers responded to the scene of the protest in order to guard against violence.
At issue for the demonstrators was the existence, previously secret, of the Home for Unemployed Media Personalities Accused of Sex Crimes (HUMPASC) within the borders of the hamlet of Sagaponack. Local officials announced last week that HUMPASC had in fact been established over the summer, located in what had previously been a vast private home that had been abandoned after its owner was jailed for financial misdeeds.
Leonard Lowenstern, an official with the Hamptons Department of Halfway Houses, disclosed the existence of HUMPASC, and he made the case for its location during a news conference last Friday.
“Look, I know that nobody wants a bunch of sleazy, handsy news anchors, talk show hosts, comedians and film producers moving in next door,” Lowenstern said. “But these guys are used to a certain standard of living. If you tried to put them in an ordinary halfway house, they would act out in all kinds of ways.”
When asked how the Sagaponack location was selected, Lowenstern said it was an obvious solution. “We got a call about the need for this from state officials, and, you know, a lot of these guys already live out here—they’re familiar with the area—and the house was just sitting there falling into ruin. So we said, let’s give it a try. So far, we haven’t had any reports of these guys getting fresh with any of the neighbors, so that’s very encouraging.”
Nevertheless, the protestors were clearly unhappy with the placing of HUMPASC so close to their homes.
“It’s only a matter of time before one of those animals gets loose,” said one irate woman at the demonstration. “Believe me, I’m not walking around Sagaponack without a can of pepper spray ever again!”
Police report that the protest dispersed without incident.