New York State Senate Passes Lifetime Registration For Sex Offenders
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced today that the Senate has acted on legislation that would strengthen Megan's Law by mandating lifetime registration for convicted sex offenders. This prompt action was necessary due to the fact that over 220 sex offenders will be dropping off the New York State sex offender registry by the end of January and more than 3,500 will be purged from the statewide registry by the end of the year due to a provision in the original law.
Passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, this legislation now needs approval in the New York State Assembly. This legislation is part of a broad package which is designed to protect women and children from sexual predators, much of which has already passed the New York State Senate in past years.
"Megan’s Law is one section of New York State law that should be without question. Our ability to protect children by notifying parents of those who may endanger their children through the sex offender registry should be not be weakened, it should be strengthened," stated Senator Fuschillo. "Sex offenders should not have the right to freely move from neighborhood to neighborhood without parents knowledge. The power should be in the hands of the parents and not in the hands of those who look to cause harm."
Currently, most sex offenders are required to register for ten years and on January 21st, the 10th anniversary of the effective date of New York State’s sex offender registry, a number who have committed heinous crimes will be purged from the system if the Assembly does not approve similar legislation.
Senator Fuschillo and other members of the Senate Majority were joined by Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of "Parents For Megan’s Law," a not-for-profit, national community and victim's rights organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse.
"Legislative action must be taken immediately to prevent thousands of convicted sex offenders from vanishing off of the Registry. Without immediate legislative intervention, sexual predators will be allowed to go about completely unnoticed in our communities. They could be coaching your child, selling them ice cream or working in a toy store and parents or employers would never know," said Ms. Ahearn.
Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year old daughter Jessica was murdered by a convicted sex offender in Florida last year, was scheduled to attend, but could not make it due to a family emergency.
In a statement, Lunsford said: "I would like to thank the New York State Senate for their commitment to making the Megan’s Law registry permanent and for moving forward with increased penalties on sex offenders. It is important that the State Assembly act upon these bills and not wait for federal legislation. While I am committed to enacting a federal Jessica’s Law in Washington, there are differences between the two bills in the House of Representatives and United States Senate that have yet to be resolved. New York should not wait for the federal government to settle their differences and I will be back to Albany to lobby for these changes," Lunsford concluded.
This legislation is the first step in a series of legislation the Senate will be working to enact to toughen New York’s sex offender laws. Next week, the Senate plans to act on legislation that would provide for the civil commitment of sexually violent predators after they have completed their prison sentence in order to protect the public from criminals likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence.
"This is a common sense approach to stop sexual offenders from harming our communities. I urge the Assembly to join with us in passing this important piece of legislation and to join us in moving forward with protecting families," stated Senator Fuschillo.
If you would like to join with Senator Fuschillo in fighting to expand protections from sexual offenders, please click here to "Join the Fight".
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