Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Assembly Minority Unveils Sex Assault Report
Demand action on civil confinement legislation, other measures to protect children, women

Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco and his fellow Minority members were today joined by Laura Ahearn, founder and Executive Director of Parents for Megan's Law, to formally announce the findings of the SAVE-NY Task Force. The Task Force traversed the state for three years, gathering information about ways to create stronger laws against sexual violence and further protect New York's women and children.

"The report we present today is the culmination of three years' worth of hard work by the entire Assembly Minority conference," said Leader Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga). "That hard work has presented us with many good ideas, but there is one that clearly stands above the rest and that is civil confinement."

Civil confinement, first proposed by Assembly Minority members in 1993, would send the most dangerous sexual predators to secure mental facilities after their prison terms if a judge and jury found them to still pose a threat to society. The measure has repeatedly passed by overwhelming margins in the State Senate, has been ruled Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and is already law in 16 other states and the District of Columbia.

After years of blocking a vote in the Assembly, Majority members finally came to the table earlier this year to offer a watered-down version of the measure. The issue is currently at loggerheads in conference committee where Majority members are resisting toughening up their measure.

"Over the course of three years, one proposal was advocated time and again at each of our events. That was civil confinement," said Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava (R,C,WF,I-Gouverneur), Task Force Chair. "That should be a good indication that this measure will have an impact in curtailing sexual violence."

The SAVE report also contains several measures to expand New York's Sex Offender Registration Act (Megan's Law). The law was first implemented in 1996 to protect communities by requiring convicted sex offenders to register with the state, and allowing local law enforcement to notify vulnerable populations as to where the most dangerous sex offenders live.

"If there has ever been a truly non-partisan issue, it is that of sexual violence against anyone - especially children," said Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of Parents for Megan's Law. "This Task Force has provided ideas that will lead to real solutions for a problem that could potentially affect any family. I encourage the passage of this legislation."

"During our travels across New York State, we heard many harrowing stories of sexual violence," said Assemblyman David G. McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick), Task Force Vice-chair. "If our work prevents just one further incident or keeps one more dangerous predator in custody, it will have been worthwhile."

"We need stronger laws to protect our children from computer luring and pedophiles on the Internet," said Assemblyman Tom Alfano (R,I,C,WF-21st District). "Popular teen web sites with special homepages are an open invitation to pedophiles and deviants that prey upon our children. That's why we need civil confinement, longer sentences for sex offenders and proactive education programs that teach our children about the dangers surrounding the Internet and sex offenders. Without these measures, we're not protecting our communities."

Additional recommendations in the SAVE-NY Report:

  • Clarify the role of law enforcement posing as children in sting operations.

  • Limit plea bargaining for sex offenders to eliminate the option of pleading to a non-sexual offense.

  • Eliminate the statute of limitations for the most violent sex crimes.

  • Allow parents to monitor children's activities on the phone to prevent abuse.

  • Increase penalties for public lewdness.

  • Increase the penalty for offenders who fail to register on the state's Sex Offender Registry from a misdemeanor to a felony.

  • Prohibit sex offenders from working with children.

  • Prohibit sex offenders from living near schools/day care facilities.

  • Remove the affirmative defense that allows offenders who do not return required forms to escape prosecution by simply proving they have not moved.

  • Expand the scope of DCJS registration by posting information about all offenders on the Megan's Law Registry.

  • Require the dissemination of information about Level 2 and 3 offenders to vulnerable populations.

  • Double the prison sentences for offenses committed near school grounds.

  • Create the crime of "Attempting to Lure or Entice a Minor."

  • Allow prosecutorial appeal of low bail and sentencing determinations if prosecutors feel they are lower than warranted.

  • Revoke youthful offender status upon any second conviction within five years, thereby requiring registration as a sex offender.

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