State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady_ announced that he and his colleagues in the New York State Senate passed a package of bills cracking down on rapists and sex offenders by creating new crimes and increasing penalties.
Legislation (S.1459) ensures significantly longer prison sentences for serial rapists. Under current law, it is possible for a judge to issue concurrent sentences for multiple counts arising from separate and distinct acts of rape. The legislation would require consecutive prison sentences for each separate count of first-degree rape when an individual is convicted of multiple counts, keeping dangerous felons off the streets for as long as possible.
The Senate also passed legislation, (S.2510) that creates new felony-level "Sex Crimes" which are offenses in which criminals use computers and the Internet to commit sex crimes against children under the age of 17.
The anonymity that comes with using the Internet has made it easier for criminals to find their victims, especially children. These crimes also frequently involve individuals using a false identity in an effort to engage in sexual contact with minors. This bill also gives law enforcement additional tools to investigate these types of crimes.
Another bill (S.1391) increases the penalty for failure to register or report a change of address by a Level Three Sex Offender. Currently, sex offenders who fail to register or report address changes only face a misdemeanor for the first offense. The penalty does not reach felony-level until a second offense. This bill punishes first-time offenders more harshly, and offenders would face a higher-level felony charge for subsequent offenses. Level Three Sex Offenders are considered to be the most dangerous and the most likely to repeat their crimes.
The Senate also acted on a bill that adds a new crime to protect children. The bill (S.988) creates the felony crime of endangering the welfare of a child if a person has previously been charged with child endangerment. Currently, the crime is a misdemeanor offense no matter how many times an individual has been charged with that crime in the past. This bill would ensure the safety of our children by taking into account when a person with a history of child abuse continues to commit these crimes, and toughens the penalties for them.
These bills were sent to the Assembly.