Residents in the Upper West Side may be changing their deadbolts after learning that a level-three sex offender has been working as a super at three neighborhood buildings.
William Barnason, 57, who was released from prison in 2001 after serving more than 14 years for the sexual abuse, sodomy, and rape of three Long Island girls, has the keys to more than 50 apartments 140 and 142 W. 75th St. as well as 144 W. 73rd St., where he now resides, the NY Post reported.
Barnason was convicted of sexual abuse on three girls between the ages of 5 and 7 and one over 17 years old.
Upon release, Barnason was hired by landlord Stanley Katz to be the super and rent collector at the three apartment buildings.
Carol Engle, a resident at one of the Katz's properties for the past two and a half years, said that she found the apartment from a posting on Craiglist. After giving Barnason her first and last months rent, as well as a security deposit, she became alarmed when he asked for an additional thousand dollars. When she explained that she could not pay the money, he offered her a deal.
"He said if we were special friends he could help me out," said Engle. She immediately turned down his proposition and contacted Katz, who she claimed didn't believe Barnason would do something like that. " What kind of person would let a rapist have keys to everyone's apartment."
Other residents in the buildings allege that Barnason would proposition them to have sexual relations to avoid rent disputes, and others have accused Barnason of harassment, according to the paper.
Some neighbors in the area can't believe that Barnason was allowed to become the super of the building, especially in such close proximity to elementary schools.
"It's disgusting. Would you let him near your children," said one neighbor who would only identify himself as Justin. "Sometimes you want to take things into your own hands but you can't."
In recent weeks, New York State Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) has introduced a bill hoping to amend the multiple dwelling law that he hopes will prohibit the owner of a multiple dwelling from hiring a building superintendent, managing agent, or resident manager who is registered as a level two or level three sex offender.
"They shouldn't have the keys to your apartment, the place where you should feel safest," said Assemblyman Kellner.
Katz's attorney, Santo Golino, made a statement claiming that Katz just recently learned of Barnason's criminal past and has not yet made future plans.