Rockland County NYS Senator David Carlucci is sponsoring the “Protect Our Children Act” in response to the deaths of two children recently in the news. The proposed legislation will change New York’s child protection laws to better protect children from cruel and repeated abuse.
‘€œThe death of a child is always a tragedy, but the recent murder of Leiby Kletzky and the acquittal of Casey Anthony illustrate the need to close loopholes in the law,’€ Senator Carlucci said. ‘€œThis bill will give our justice system and the people who serve on juries the tools they need to be able to lawfully hold the individual they believe to be responsible for the death of a child accountable.’€
The Protect Our Children Act will create the new crime of aggravated murder of a child with a sentence of life without parole. The bill will also:
- Expand existing laws regarding aggravated abuse of a child. The law currently applies only to day care providers, but new provisions will expand it to also apply to parents, guardians or a person in a position of trust when someone recklessly causes physical injury to a child under the age of 14.
- Make concealing the death of a child a felony. The concealment of the death of a child could interfere with the prosecution of the person responsible for the death by loss of evidence.
- Create a felony for failing to notify law enforcement when the whereabouts of a young child is unknown for more than 24 hours.
- Make obstructing the location of a missing child a felony.
- Create a felony child endangering statute to protect children from especially cruel and sadistic conduct. Under current law, unless physical injury results, the infliction on children of sadistic, painful, dangerous punishments can typically be charged only as misdemeanors.
- Create a statute to protect children from serious reckless abuse. To the extent existing laws address reckless conduct, they minimize the seriousness by treating it as a low level offense or often include the requirement that the conduct be ‘€œdepraved,’€ an element that New York courts have in recent years interpreted in a way that is extremely difficult to prove.
- Increase penalties for repeat child abusers.