Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights) announced that the Legislature and governor have reached agreement on civil commitment legislation to keep the most dangerous sexual predators off the streets even after they finish their prison terms, and establish new, tougher sentences for persons convicted of sex crimes.
“This bipartisan agreement will keep our families safe from dangerous sexual predators,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “If there’s likelihood that sex offenders will repeat their crime, they’ll be confined until it’s determined that they are no longer dangerous. That means that the worst sexual predators could be behind bars for life – and that greatly improves the safety of New York’s families.”
Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said the agreement calls for the state Attorney General to decide when to seek civil commitment of individuals determined to suffer from a mental abnormality by a state committee of mental health professionals. If confinement is not ordered, the sex offender will still be under strict and intensive supervision and treatment. Other highlights:
- There will be required treatment to reduce recidivism by prisoners and for the civilly confined;
- Those housed in mental health facilities will be kept separate from vulnerable mental health patients; and
- Civil commitment must be reviewed annually by the courts.
“We were able to move beyond the past partisan politics of this issue and get the agreement we needed to protect our families,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “We are continuing to make real progress in Albany, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature and the governor in getting more results for New Yorkers.”
Strengthening sex offense sentencing
Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said the three-way agreement also toughens penalties for convicted sex offenders by:
- Eliminating the option of parole for Article 130 felony sex offenses;
- Providing long-term post-release supervision for those convicted of sex offense felonies;
- Moving five existing crimes into the “violent crime” category, including second-degree rape and fourth-degree aggravated sexual abuse; and
- Creating the crime of “Sexually Motivated Felony” in cases where certain other crimes, like burglary or robbery, are committed for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator – subjecting the offender to tougher penalties.
Cracking down on sexual predators who target children
Assemblyman Brook-Krasny noted that additional measures moving through the Assembly to crack down on sex predators who target children include creating a new felony crime of “luring” a child under the age of 14 for the purpose of committing a violent crime (A.1668), which passed the Assembly in January, and a bill punishing sending descriptions, as well as depictions, of nudity to children to solicit the child through the Internet (A.2012).
“We must be constantly vigilant against all manner of sexual solicitation and attack on our children,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “Predators attempting to lure children for the purpose of sexual abuse are a real danger and we must do our utmost to put sexual predators behind bars.”
The ban on providing indecent materials in writing will strengthen current law, which punishes communications that depict nudity used to solicit underage children. However, a case pending in the state’s highest court raises the question of whether the use of descriptions, rather than pictures, of nudity is prohibited by the current statute. The new measure would clearly ban sexually graphic descriptions of nudity transmitted over the Internet to solicit minors, as well.
“It’s vital that we do all we can to appropriately punish sex offenders and ensure that they don’t wreak havoc on our communities,” Assemblyman Brook-Krasny said. “Public safety will improve with these harsher sentences, an effective civil commitment process, and strong measure to stop predators who stalk our children.”