Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) joined his colleagues in the New York State Senate in passage of Jessica’s Law (S.8459), which would impose tougher penalties on those who commit sexual crimes against children, further strengthening New York’s sexual assault laws.
The legislation is named for Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old-girl who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender living in her neighborhood in Florida. "Jessica’s Law" was first signed in Florida last year.
"This new legislation will significantly increase penalties for crimes against children and further penalize the worst-of-the-worst sexual predators as well as repeat sexual offenders," said Senator Marty Golden. "The law will not only help make sure sexual predators serve longer sentences, but also will be an incredibly powerful deterrent to offenders that have already been released. Protecting our children is one of the most important functions of government."
Jessica’s Law creates the crime of "predatory sexual assault," which is defined as committing any of one of four class B violent felonies in article 130 of the penal law along with anyone of four aggravating factors which include: (1) causing serious physical injury to the victim while committing the crime; (2) using or threatening the immediate use of a dangerous instrument while committing the crime; (3) committing any of the four class B violent sex felonies against more than one person; and (4) having been previously convicted of any felony defined in article 130 of the penal law, incest or the use of a child in a sexual performance.
The legislation also creates the crime of "Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child." This crime increases from a class B felony to a class A-II felony, with a required life sentence and minimum term of at least ten and up to twenty-five years in prison, commission of a class B felony sex offense by a person more than eighteen years of age against a child less than thirteen years of age.
The legislation additionally provides that the minimum sentence of imprisonment for a felony offender convicted of the crime of Predatory Sexual Assault or Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child would be no less than ten years to life and up to 25 years to life. The bill was sent to the Governor for his consideration.