Renee's Law introduced in Senate
LOCKPORT, N.Y. — It's been almost two years since group home worker Renee Greco was bludgeoned to death by two residents during a burglary at Avenue House, a six bed group home in Lockport.
19-year-old Anthony Allen and 17-year-old Robert Thousand were convicted of her murder. Since her death, family and friends have been trying to get a law passed that would protect group home workers from violent youth offenders.
"The New York State office of Children and Family Services put her unnecessarily in grave danger," said state Senator George Maziarz (R).
"Renee, I believe very strongly, would still be alive if Renee's Law had been in place" said state Senator Cathy Young (R).
Young and Maziarz are sponsoring the legislation, which calls for placing violent youth offenders in more secure facilities and better staffing for group homes and training for youth counselors.
"First of all, there is not enough staff training not only in the state operated facilities but also in the community-based facilities like the one where Renee worked," said Young.
The legislation also calls for the state to provide full background reports on juveniles to the facilities and workers responsible for their care.
"I believe that the agency where Anthony Allen was placed in the community probably would not have accepted him because of his violent past if they knew really who he was and how he behaved," said Young.
Young believes offenders like Allen should be classified on a three level system that keeps the most violent offenders out of group homes.
"Level Three are the most violent, and they will never be in the community until they're ready," said Young.
The legislation being introduced on the Senate floor is good news for Mark and Carla Sauberan. Renee was their niece, and ever since her death, they've been pushing for changes to protect group home workers.
"We have political parties working together to get solutions, and with Renee's Law, we're hopefully going to have this passed somewhere in the future where we would never have to have another family member get that phone call in the morning," said Mark Sauberan.
Young and Maziarz say they're hopeful that the bill will find enough support to pass by the end of the legislative session on June 20th, just twelve days after the second anniversary of Renee's death.