How Many More Lives Must Be Destroyed?

John J. Bonacic

July 08, 2005

"Recent devastating news about yet another family destroyed and child abducted, abused and killed at the hands of a violent, repeat sex offender underscores the critical need to enact stronger, more stringent laws to protect our families," stated New York State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope). "The Senate has addressed these issues, but there is still no commitment from the Assembly to act."

The Senate has approved several safety measures designed to protect New Yorkers from sexual predators but they continue to languish in the Assembly. Senator Bonacic said, "Lives are being torn apart unnecessarily by the lack of Laws to more effectively track sex offenders, yet we have the technology and policy proposals to do so."

Legislation passed by the Senate include proposals to require: mandatory notification by police when a registered sex offender moves into a community; lifetime registration of all sex offenders; information be posted on the Internet about level three sex offenders; GPS monitoring of the highest risk offenders; as well as harsher penalties for sex offenders who violate these terms.

Senator Bonacic highlighted legislation that he is sponsoring with Assemblyman David Koon as an example of the Assembly’s continuing negligence. The bill, sponsored in both houses by majority members, would require the GPS monitoring of all level three sex offenders in New York State. "The measure has broad bipartisan support and Assemblyman Koon has the votes to pass it in the Assembly. However, Assembly leadership refuses to allow a vote. This is not democracy in action, it is putting one’s head in the sand and hoping the issue will go away," Senator Bonacic continued.

Mark Lunsford, whose daughter Jennifer was abducted, sexually assaulted, then buried alive, said during his visit to Albany to support the Senate’s sex offender measures and urge Assembly action, that his daughter’s life would have been saved if GPS monitoring was in place. Jennifer’s killer was a known high risk sex offender who was hiding in a closet with Jennifer when police searched the home, but was not discovered. GPS monitoring of this individual would have provided law enforcement the ability to promptly find Jennifer and arrest her abductor.

"Tragedy after tragedy we hear or read about reinforces the fact that this will not simply go away. How many more tragedies must occur before the Assembly acts? I urge the Assembly leadership to take action now before another innocent life is destroyed," concluded Senator Bonacic.