Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
June 1, 2008

Assemblyman Tedisco, Assemblyman Amedore, Councilman Koetzle, Legislator Santabarbara & Local Law Enforcement Call For New Law To Keep Kids Safe

In light of the tragic shooting death of ten-year-old Kathina Thomas in the City of Albany this past Thursday - and the frequent shootings that have occurred in cities and communities across the Capital District - Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga), Assemblyman George Amedore (R,C-Rotterdam), Glenville Town Councilman Chris Koetzle (R,C,I-Glenville) and Schenectady County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara (R,C,I-Rotterdam) called for adoption of a new initiative titled "C.A.R.E" (Child Assault REform Act).

Rotterdam Police Department Lieutenant Michael Brown joined Tedisco, Amedore, Koetzle and Santabarbara at a press conference held on the steps of City Hall in downtown Schenectady today in calling for enactment of C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. would amend several State criminal justice statutes to increase penalties on criminals who kill or injure children under 12-years-old.

"Like so many, I was shocked and saddened when learning about the tragic death of Kathina Thomas. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during such a difficult, painful time. Sadly, this type of violence isn't limited to the City of Albany - it reaches into the City of Schenectady, where there is too much violence, some of it affecting our youngest and most innocent," Tedisco said.

"Our Child Assault REform Act would amend current State laws, increasing the penalties on those who would harm or kill a child under the age of 12, just as Kathina Thomas was. By increasing sanctions, our C.A.R.E. initiative would help send a critical message to would-be criminals that they will face greater punishment and, hopefully, think twice before engaging in some act of violence or lawlessness. I am hopeful that we can build strong, bi-partisan support for C.A.R.E. throughout the cities of Schenectady, Albany and other urban areas that have seen too much violent crime and too many children harmed or killed," Tedisco stated.

"In my conversations with members of law enforcement in the City of Schenectady, I have been told there were nearly two dozen shootings in one month's time this spring. This has to stop. We need to impose tougher penalties on those who would hurt or kill children so we can help prevent a tragedy like the one that took the life of Kathina Thomas," said Assemblyman George Amedore (R,C-Rotterdam).

"These types of indiscriminate killings and random violence that terrorize city neighborhoods, making parents live in fear for their children's safety, must stop. C.A.R.E. is an important public safety resource our State Legislature should give the men and women of local law enforcement to assist them in keeping our streets - and children - safe," Amedore stated.

"As a husband, father and member of the Glenville Town Board, I fully support the efforts of Assemblyman Tedisco and Assemblyman Amedore to enact this package of public safety initiatives to keep our streets, neighborhoods and communities safe. No parent, whether they live in the City of Albany, the City of Schenectady, or the Town of Glenville, should ever have to worry about their child getting caught in a deadly crossfire of violence," said Chris Koetzle (R,C,I-Glenville) Glenville Town Councilman.

"We have to send an unambiguous message with one voice that we are not going to tolerate children becoming casualties. Not now, and not in our community. Enacting C.A.R.E. is something positive our state Legislature could do to show it truly cares about the well-being of children throughout our Capital District community," Koetzle said.

"Even though my wife and I have children, I can only try to imagine the terrible pain that Kathina Thomas' family is experiencing from the tragedy that happened last Thursday in the City of Albany. However, this type of situation is not isolated to just Albany - we hear on an all too frequent basis about shootings and other acts of violence being perpetrated toward children in the City of Schenectady. It worries me and, quite frankly, I'm sure it worries every single parent in our community," said Legislator Angelo Santabarbara (R,C,I-Rotterdam).

"As a member of the Schenectady County Legislature, I believe we in County government must work with our colleagues in Schenectady City government in finding innovative solutions to curb the violence and killings that continue to plague our City. We need to have 'zero tolerance' when it comes to criminals who injure or murder children. I endorse Assemblymen Tedisco and Amedore's C.A.R.E. legislative initiative because it would help accomplish the goal of a safer Schenectady," Santabarbara stated.

Tedisco and Amedore noted they would be seeking to build broad-based, bi-partisan support for their C.A.R.E. initiative with colleagues in the State Assembly and Senate.

The specific State statutes which C.A.R.E. (Child Assault REform Act) would amend include the following:

  • Amend Penal Law 120.12: Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven-years-old to read twelve-years-old;

  • Amend PL 120.05 (8): Assault in the second degree to change the victim age from 11 to 12, so that when a person over 18 with intent to cause physical injury to a person under 12, does so it, will be a Class D felony;

  • Add a new subdivision to Penal Law Article 120: Aggravated assault in the second degree upon a person less than twelve years old. This would be the same as Assault 2nd (with intent to cause a serious physical injury, does so), except when committed upon a person less than 12 it would be a Class C felony instead of a Class D;

  • Add a new subdivision, Aggravated Assault in the first degree upon a person less than twelve years old. With intent to cause serious physical injury, causes such injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. This becomes a Class A, instead of Class B, felony;

  • Amend Aggravated criminally negligent homicide to include causing the death of a person under 12 (Class C felony);

  • Amend Aggravated manslaughter in the second degree, to include recklessly causing the death of a person under 12 (Class C felony);

  • Amend Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree, to include when with intent to cause serious physical injury to a person under 12, causes the death of said person (Class B felony); and

  • Amend Aggravated murder, to include when the intended victim was a person less than 12- years-old (Class A-I felony).

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