Senator Volker Passes Legislation To Toughen Penalties For Incest

William T. Stachowski

February 07, 2006

(Albany, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-I-C, Depew) today passed legislation (S.6277A) that would close a loophole in current law which permits certain child sexual offenders to obtain a lenient, non violent disposition for child sexual assault.

"Incest is, without a doubt, one of the disturbing and debilitating sexual offenses perpetrated against our young children," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "Unfortunately, our state's criminal statutes can allow perpetrators of this sexual assault to receive only probation. This is unacceptable and we have the responsibility to increase the criminal penalties to ensure that persons who engage in this despicable offense are sent to prison where they belong. There is no reason whatsoever for the State Assembly not to act on this bill. Our children's mental and physical well-being is at stake and I committed to do whatever it takes to enact this bill into law."

Senator Volker’s legislation would amend the current law relating to incest to provide that engaging in sex with a child under the age of 11, regardless of how closely related to the child the perpetrator is, would be a class B felony, and a violent felony offense. This would allow for a sentencing change from current law, to a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years and not allow the criminal to be sentenced to probation. In addition, Senator Volker’s bill would provide that engaging in sex with a child less than 15 years of age would be a class D violent felony offense and ensure that incest by an adult would be a class E violent felony offense.

Current New York law allows the possibility of exceptionally lenient treatment for child sexual offenders who are closely related to the child. In fact, a person who rapes or engages on other criminal sexual activity with his or her own child or a closely related relative can be granted probation and not be required to serve any jail time. This is unacceptable and to add insult to injury, this activity is considered a nonviolent crime. Incest is, most typically, rape by extortion, with parents abusing their positions to induce compliance from innocent and helpless victims, whose every aspect of life is under the perpetrators' control. It is indefensible that current law permits a virtual get-out-of-jail- free card to be granted these offenders.

Senator Volker’s legislation has been to the State Assembly for their consideration.