Dennis Woodard – told to stay away from schools after leering at boys

A high-risk sex offender has been told to stay away from schools in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, where he has been spotted at boys’ athletic events.

School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro sent a letter this week to Dennis Woodard of Kenmore, barring him from school property. It’s the only legal option available.

“He doesn’t even have probation anymore,” said Kenmore Police Chief Carl J. LaCorte. “He served his time.”

But as a Level 3, or high-risk, offender, Woodard will remain on the state’s sex offender registry for the rest of his life. Every year, he’s required to register in person at the local police department and have a photograph taken.

A former elementary school science teacher and coach in Central New York, Woodard, 65, was arrested in 1993 on federal charges that he sold pornographic videos and photos of young boys. He subsequently pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and sexually exploiting a youth, and spent more than a decade in prison on that conviction and a parole violation.

Woodard moved to Kenmore, where his parents lived, several years ago.

LaCorte said he suggested Woodard be barred from district property in a conversation with the school superintendent earlier this week.

“It’s sacred ground, to the point where simple trespass on the outside . . . is a misdemeanor because it’s a school,” the police chief said. Conviction on a misdemeanor count of trespass carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

Parents had notified police and district officials about Woodard’s presence at swimming meets and wrestling matches.

“I [saw] him at the last swim meet,” said Pam Coniglio, referring to an event Tuesday at Kenmore West High School. Her son, Tyler, is on Kenmore East’s swimming team.

“The idea of this guy looking at my son in a swimming suit . . .,” she said Friday. “He has no kids on the swim team. He has no reason to be there.”

Coniglio said she heard from other parents that Woodard also attended a swim meet in North Tonawanda.

She said she called the superintendent Wednesday and he took immediate action.

“We heard it from a parent. The superintendent got right on it,” Michael B. Haggerty, a district spokesman, said Friday.

Besides the letter, all district employees have been put on alert, Haggerty said. If Woodard is seen on district property, he’s to be removed and district officials notified, he said.

Previously, Haggerty said, the Ken-Ton community was told about Woodard living in the area through the notification provision in Megan’s Law.

Coniglio wants the word out about his recent activities.

“I would like to prevent something before it happens to any kid,” she said.

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