Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) and Assemblyman Andrew Raia (9th Assembly District) today announced that they are sponsoring legislation that will significantly increase penalties for crimes against the elderly and the physically disabled.
The lawmaker’s renewed call for the increased criminal penalties comes following the assault of 101-year-old Rose Morat in the lobby of her Queens apartment building by an unknown assailant. Under current state law, the assailant can only be charged with a misdemeanor that will only carry a year in prison.
"We need to send a clear message that attacking our most vulnerable will not be tolerated in New York State. This recent attack was a callous and despicable crime and we need to act now to end the ongoing threat to our seniors and the physically disabled," stated Senator Flanagan. "This defendant obviously targeted this victims because of her age and we should specifically target the penalty. Every criminal act committed in our state should be dealt with strongly but we have a responsibility to enhance the protection for those who are at the greatest risk and this legislation will do just that."
"The recent assault of a 101- year old woman in Queens has brought this issue to the forefront," Raia said. "Our communities should not have to witness such senseless acts of violence against our vulnerable seniors and the physically disabled. This legislation sets forth a ‘get tough’ approach by reducing opportunities for plea bargains and mandating longer prison sentences for those criminals who target their crimes against our seniors and the physically disabled."
Under the proposed legislation, individuals that commit serious crimes against seniors 62 years of age or older, or the physically disabled, must face prison time and will not able to seek reduced sentences in a plea bargain.
Juveniles who commit these crimes will be sent, by court order, to secure juvenile detention facilities, for a specific minimum period of restricted placement.
The crimes covered by this legislation include assault, burglary, grand larceny, robbery, rape, manslaughter, criminal sexual act and kidnapping. Prison sentences for the new felony crimes range from a minimum of four years to a maximum of 25 years depending on the degree of the offense.