Senate bill strengthens penalties for child abusers

The New York State Senate this week voted unanimously in support of legislation to protect children by deterring abuse through strengthening penalties for those who sexually abuse a minor under the age of 14.

Authored by Senate Democratic Leader John L. Sampson (D-19th SD) the law would help create safer environments for children and protect them from abusers.

“Victims of sexual abuse will remember and relive the horror and trauma of their attacks for the rest of their lives,” said Senator Sampson. “My dream is for no child to ever have to go through such an experience, but until that becomes a reality we need common-sense laws that will deter abusers from committing crimes.

Sexual abuse in the first degree is a D felony, however, this statute is only applicable where there is force, where the victim is incapable of giving consent or where the victim is less than 11 years old.

Victims of sexual abuse in the second degree are, by definition, incapable of giving consent under the age of 14.

Therefore, perpetrators who abuse or otherwise come into sexual contact with victims between the ages of 11 and 13 are only eligible for up to one year in prison.

“This sentence is simply inadequate to deter this conduct or punish offenders who may repeatedly engage in this crime,” Sampson said.

“A single year behind bars is simply an unacceptable sentence for such an abhorrent crime. By creating stronger penalties, we hope both first time and repeat offenses will significantly decline.”

Under current law, the crime of sexual abuse in the second degree is punishable by up to one year in prison. “The human toll, however, is extremely damaging as being fondled or touched in such an inappropriate manner is humiliating and degrading,” Sampson said.

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