Senators, Seniors And Advocates Join Together
Senator Frank Padavan (Queens), Senator Serphin Maltese (Queens) and Senator Marty Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) today joined with over 300 senior citizens and advocates at the SNAP Senior Center in Queens in support of S.3684, legislation that would make it a felony offense, rather than a misdemeanor, to physically assault senior citizens.
Queens of 101-year-old Rose Morat and 85-year-old Solange Elizee, the State Senate passed the measure in a unanimous, bi-partisan vote of 61-0. The Senate passed the Senior Assault bill on March 27th which was also when it was sent to the Assembly, who has yet to act on the legislation.
Under current law, the assailant in these two cases could face robbery charges, but would only face a misdemeanor charge for his physical attacks on the two elderly women. In addition, under current law, the penalties for the physical attack on the 101-year-old and 85-year-old women are the same penalties that would exist if the victim had been a 25 year old football player.
“It is not OK to attack anyone – ever. It’s definitely not okay to attack any part of our population that for whatever reason cannot defend themselves and seniors fall into that category,” said Senator Frank Padavan (Queens). “It sickens me that anyone would want to assault someone who physically can’t fight back. In one day, two seniors right in my district were attacked and the delinquent behind these vicious crimes, under current law, can only be charged with a misdemeanor – that’s outrageous.”
Queens), former Queens Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau. “When anyone gets mugged and assaulted I consider it to be a serious crime. But when a 101-year-old woman gets mugged and assaulted, it’s an outrageous and potentially life-threatening crime that clearly calls out for more severe penalties.”
“Repeatedly punching a defenseless 101-year-old grandmother in the face and head should not be treated as a misdemeanor -- period,” said Senator Golden, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging. “Every New Yorker knows that people who beat up senior citizens should not get off with a mere slap on the wrist, and that’s why the support for a Senior Assault Law continues to grow stronger and stronger every day. Senate Democrats and Republicans joined together to unanimously approve this important bill, and we know it would enjoy the same overwhelming and bi-partisan support if it’s brought to a vote in the State Assembly.”
Queens, the attacker could also face additional charges associated with the theft of property.
The legislation passed on March 27th by the New York State Senate would make it a class D or class E violent felony to assault any senior over the age of 70. The bill would also make it a class D or class E violent felony to assault someone age 60 or older who suffers from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age. A class D violent felony conviction carries a potential penalty of up to 7 years in prison, while a class E felony conviction carries a potential penalty of up to 4 years in prison. As violent felony offenses, these crimes carry determinate sentences and the perpetrators will not be eligible for parole.
“Older New Yorkers have enough struggles to live with without worrying about being attacked,” said Bobbie Sackman, Director of Public Policy of the Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS). “Making it a more serious crime if an elderly person is attacked shows that the state is taking these crimes more seriously. Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to work with local community organizations to provide anti-crime initiatives and crime prevention education would also go a long way to protect older New Yorkers.”
Syracuse). “The Senate has championed many efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. This measure, which will help to deter attackers and safeguard our senior citizens, is an extension of our dedication to making our streets safer and keeping our senior citizens out of harm’s way.”
East Northport). “This was a callous and despicable crime that cannot be tolerated and we need to send that message loud and clear.”
Rome). “Senior citizens make enormous contributions to our community, and anyone who would purposefully hurt them should be punished to the fullest extent.”
“The elderly are among our society's most vulnerable and it is not only appropriate but necessary that our laws provide added protection and increased penalties to safeguard them,” said Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury).
“The people of this state were saddened and sickened by the senseless violent assault and subsequent mugging of two elderly women, who were obviously targeted because their attacker believed that they were easy prey and would be unable to defend themselves,” Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I-WF, Rochester) said. “I am proud to support the passage of this legislation in the Senate which increases the penalties for violent attacks against the elderly. My goal is to protect every citizen in this state, especially our seniors and those viewed as more vulnerable so they can feel safe walking in their own neighborhoods.”