Senator Bonacic Co-Sponsors Caylee's Law

John J. Bonacic

July 21, 2011

 State Senator John J. Bonacic has signed on to co-sponsor the Senate’s Protect Our Children’s Act/ Caylee’s Law. The legislation recognizes serious forms of child abuse that are not adequately covered by existing law, to better protect our children.

The legislation, S.5862, sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti would:

1. Create a felony child endangering statue to protect children from especially cruel and sadistic conduct. Under current law, unless physical injury results, the infliction on children of sadistic, painful, dangerous punishments can typically be charged only as misdemeanors;

2. Create statute to protect children from serious reckless abuse. To the extent existing laws address reckless conduct, they minimize the seriousness by treating it as low level offenses or often include the requirement that the conduct be “depraved” an element that New York courts have in recent years interpreted in a way that is virtually impossible to prove;

3. Recognize that caregivers and those in positions of trust to care for children have a heightened duty of care to children and violating this special relationship is an aggravating factor in any child abuse crime. There is a special, dependent relationship between children and thei guardians, and children are particularly vulnerable to abuse by those who should be their first line protectors;

4. Increase penalties for repeat child abusers. Where a person abuses a child and has previously committed crimes against children, increased penalties are called for;

5. Create a felony statute for obstructing the efforts of law enforcement to find a missing child. Quickly finding a missing child is essential to protect that vulnerable child from harm, and selfish efforts to hinder those efforts must be punished;

6. Create a felony statute for concealing a death. A death of a child is profoundly tragic, and the concealment of such not only could interfere with the prosecution of the one responsible for the death by loss of evidence, but could also prolong the agony of the family as they search for their loved one with misplaced hope;

7. Include failure to report a missing child in the new felony child endangering statute to require parents to actively seek assistance if a young child’s whereabouts is unknown.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that the law protects children from abuse in every way possible and in light of recent events, it’s become clear that New York’s legislation in this area needs to be strengthened,” said Senator Bonacic. “This legislation is an essential measure we need to take to protect our children.”