State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) announced the New York State Senate recently passed legislation (S4791) that would increase criminal penalties for sexual contact between a child and a person in a position of trust.
The bill would create the new crimes of sexual assault against a child by a person in a position of trust in the first, second, and third degrees, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. There are prohibitions in law against sexual contact with a minor, however the law does not increase penalties if the crime is committed by a person in a position of trust.
The law defines someone as a person in a position of trust when any person is charged with any duty or responsibility for the health, education, welfare or supervision of a child, either independently or through another person.
The Senate also passed legislation (S2017) that would allow law enforcement agencies to disseminate to the public, information regarding Level 1 sex offenders. Currently, law enforcement can provide information about Level 2 and 3 sex offenders, but not Level 1 offenders.
The bill also authorizes members of the public to provide an email address to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services so they can receive an email notification if a sex offender moves into their same zip code.
The Senate also passed legislation (S4113) that would prohibit criminals convicted of certain crimes from applying or participating in a home or center based child day care program.
Currently, felons can work in or volunteer at a day care program if the State Office of Children and Family Services – after conducting a criminal background check for convictions of certain crimes -- feels that the individual's criminal background does not jeopardize the health and safety of the children.
This bill expands the list of offenses, resulting in a felony conviction, to include: assault, homicide, strangulation, sex, kidnapping, obscenity and sexual performance by a child. The bill also removes the Office of Children and Family Services’ existing discretion to permit criminals to participate in day care programs.
The bills were sent to the Assembly.