The acquittal of Casey Anthony of the murder of her two year old daughter Caylee stunned the nation. Another case that is a little closer to home is the murder of eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn NY. With the decision in the Anthony case and the confession of Levi Aronin Brooklyn, many states have begun to amend and create laws that would give greater protection to children.
NY is one of those states trying to beef up its laws across many areas concerning children. In a bill sponsored by five NYS Senator’s, Mark Grisanti (R, North Buffalo) is one of them, “Protecting Our Children Act” makes sweeping changes to the state’s child protection laws to help protect children from cruel and repeated abuse.
According to Senator Mark Grisanti’s website Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos says:
“With this measure, we have carefully crafted a comprehensive bill that would fix the shortcomings of state law to ensure that children are protected and perpetrators are appropriately punished. It goes much further than bills introduced in other states that just address the failure to report missing children.”
While other states have passed bills to make failing to report a child missing a crime, the bill in the NYS senate goes much further in fact there are more than two dozen provisions within the sponsored bill. Probably the most notable is creating the crime of aggravated murder of a child with a sentence of life without parole. Another notable change is an expansion of the existing law of aggravated abuse of a child which makes recklessly causing physical injury to a child under 14 a crime. The current law applies only to day care providers. The new bill would make it a crime for parents, guardians, and persons in a position of trust.
Other notable provisions according to Senator Grisanti’s website are:
- Create a new felony for concealing the death of a child. A death of a child is profoundly tragic, and the concealment of such not only could interfere with the prosecution of the one responsible for the death by loss of evidence, but could also prolong the agony of the family as they search for their loved one with misplaced hope;
- Create a new felony for failing to notify law enforcement when the whereabouts of a young child is unknown for more than 24 hours;
- Create new felony offenses for obstructing the location of a missing child;
- Create a felony child endangering statute to protect children from especially cruel and sadistic conduct. Under current law, unless physical injury results, the infliction on children of sadistic, painful, dangerous punishments can typically be charged only as misdemeanors;
- Create a statute to protect children from serious reckless abuse. To the extent existing laws address reckless conduct, they minimize the seriousness by treating it as a low level offense or often include the requirement that the conduct be “depraved,” an element that New York courts have in recent years interpreted in a way that is extremely difficult to prove; and
- Increase penalties for repeat child abusers.
According to a report by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services in 2009 there were 17 domestic homicides involving minor child victims in NYS. While the report does provide a breakdown of domestic violence but county, it is all violence not just against children. They do provide a small section on children who are murdered by their parents, a parent’s intimate partner, or another family member. However the statistics are NYC and the rest of the state. The data is as follows:
- Infant (<1yr): 5 children
- 1-4: 3 children
- 5-9: 0 children
- 10-17: 2 children
The data shows that there were 10 children outside NYC killed at the hands of a loved one, while the number looks small, compared to the number of children in the state. While it is not possible to tell by the data if any of those 10 deaths occured in WNY, Senator Gransnti of Buffalo and the other senators are taking measures to ensure that no other child suffers the fate of Caylee. There have been two cases in WNY and that story can be found at Mothers who kill: Not as rare as you think.
This data is one part of the new bill that Buffalo Senator Mark Grisanti is sponsoring. The hope is that with the passing of this bill by NYS government, no children in NYS will face the tragic death that Calyee Anthony did. If another incident does happen NYS lawmakers have taken the steps to ensure the killer receives the harshest of punishments.
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