senate Bill S6338
(D) 34th Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Enhances criminal penalties for criminal mischief and larceny offenses committed at a place of religious worship.
TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the penal law, in relation to criminal mischief and larceny
offenses committed at a place of religious worship
The purpose of this bill is to enhance the criminal penalties
for damaging property in any house of worship and to heighten the
criminal penalties for stealing or damaging religious objects from
within a house of worship or its curtilage.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Adds a new Penal Law section 145.05(3} that relates to
criminal mischief in the 3rd Degree. This provision makes it the
crime of criminal mischief in the 3rd degree if anyone damages any
property, regardless of its nature or value, in any building,
structure, or upon the curtilage of such building that is used as a
place of religious worship. This type of criminal mischief is a class
E felony. Under current law, the property must have a value exceeding
$250 or a similar crime had been committed previously by the same
Section 2: Amends Penal Law section 145.10 that relates to
criminal mischief in the 2nd Degree. This provision makes it a crime
of criminal mischief in the 2nd Degree if any damage occurs
specifically to a scroll, religious vestment, vessel, an item
comprising of a display or a religious symbol, or any other item kept
or used in connection with religious worship in any building,
structure, or upon the curtiage of such building that is used as a
place of worship, regardless of the value of such property. Under
current law, such property must have a value of $1,500 or more to be
convicted of this crime. While under this bill, any specifically
articulated religious items damages would trigger this crime. This
type of crime is a class D Felony.
Section 3: Amends Penal Law section 155.30(9)that relates to grand
larceny in the fourth degree. Violation of this section of the Penal
Law is a class E Felony. Under current law, this section is violated
if specific religious property such as a scroll, religious vestment,
vessel or other item is stolen and such item has a value of $100 or
more and it is used in connection with religious worship. Under the
provisions of this bill, any property taken from structure or
building used for religious worship, regardless of the property's
value or what the property is, is considered to be a violation of
Penal Law section 155.30.
Section 4: Amends Penal Law section 155.35 that relates to grand
larceny in the 3rd Degree. Under this bill, certain specified
religious property such as a scroll, religious vestment, vessel or
other religious items that is stolen from a house of worship,
regardless of its value, shall be a class D felony.
Currently, under this section of law, the property must have a value
in excess of $3,000.
Section 5: Amends Penal Law section 155.40(2) that relates to grand
larceny in the 2nd degree. This provision heightens the penalty for
the theft of specific religious items in a house of worship such as a
scroll, vestment, vessel and other items that represent a religious
faith and such items have a value of $250.00 and such items are used
in connection with religious worship in any house of worship.
Violation of this crime is a class C felony. Under current law, the
value of such property must be more than $50,000 or such property
was obtained my means such as extortion.
Section 6: Effective Date.
It is important for us,
as a society, to impose the appropriate criminal sanctions for those
persons who willfully enter into a house of worship to either destroy
any property in such building or structure that serves as a house of
worship. Further, for those that enter into a house of worship to
steal any items, especially religious items, the criminal penalties
for such acts need to be enhanced.
Many religious congregations wish to keep their houses of worship open
to the public for at least part of the week and for general
convenience so that members of their community or the public at large
may enter into a house of worship to reflect or to pray. with all of
our busy schedules, it is important that such houses of worship can
remain open at convenient times during the week so that we may all
have the ability to enter into such houses to reflect and to pray.
Recently, there has been a series of violations of houses of worship
in the Bronx and the theft of sacred religious property and other
types of damage to such houses of God. It is important for us, as a
society, to protect religious houses so that they may remain open for
all of us to use. Further, such places must be protected from acts of
violence, or the destruction of their property, especially sacred
religious property. Much of this property has not only religious
significance, which merits its enhanced protection, but historical
and cultural significance. Further, much of these religious items are
irreplaceable. These religious places of worship must be protected
for the benefit of our communities and so that they may be used by
This act shall take effect on the
first of November
next succeeding the date upon which it shall have become law.
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