Senate Passes 'Precious Child Act'

Phil Boyle

June 20, 2017

The New York State Senate yesterday passed the ‘Precious Child Act’ – a measure which would require collection of DNA upon arrest for sexual crimes against a child. The bill (S616), sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Bay Shore), has bipartisan co-sponsorship and must be passed in the Assembly prior to the end of the 2017 Legislative Session tomorrow to be considered for review by the Governor.

Senator Boyle said, “Sexual crimes against children are particularly abhorrent, and we need to find more ways to protect them. Collecting DNA upon arrest is a valuable new tool for investigators to catch dangerous offenders of serious crimes. This common-sense bill will facilitate the identification of repeat offenders, help expedite investigations, save resources, and potentially reduce crime rates. I want to thank Debra Betesh for her initiative and advocacy on this very important measure.”

Assemblyman Sepulveda, the bill’s Assembly sponsor, said, “This is a simple – and necessary – step to help prevent heinous crimes against young children. It is the equivalent of fingerprinting, and is established law in 28 states, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. I can think of no argument strong enough to prevail over this much needed deterrent to prevent further horrors to other children.”

Debra Betesh, an activist who helped advocate for the creation of the bill, said, “I want to thank Senator Phil Boyle from the bottom of my heart for helping to create ‘The Precious Child Act’ which will protect child sexual abuse victims in New York. I hope this bill will pass in the Assembly because children across the state need our help now.”

Under the provisions of the bill, a DNA sample of the perpetrator must be collected upon arrest for sexual felonies when a victim is less than 13-years-old. Currently, DNA is only required for certain crimes upon conviction in New York. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Maryland vs. King that collecting DNA upon arrest for violent crimes does not violate Fourth Amendment rights.