Many of you may remember the horrifying story in 2011 of the North Tonawanda infant boy named Jay J. Bolvin, who was beaten by his father and left with 11 fractured bones and permanent epilepsy.
Although the father had been convicted of assault just four years earlier for beating and breaking the arm of another son, he received a plea bargain for the assault on Jay J., and was sentenced to only 1 1/3 to four years in prison. It was the maximum sentence that could be imposed by the judge, even though it was the second charge.
Now, young Jay J. struggles every day to recover from the severe injuries he endured after being beaten. He was diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a neurological condition that causes seizures. Doctors believe that Jay J. developed the disease after he was abused by his father. Today, Jay J. suffers 20-30 seizures a day, and itís likely he will have cognitive troubles his entire life.
In honor of Jay J. and in an effort to make sure repeat offenders are punished to the fullest extent of the law, I authored a bill called Jay Jís Law (A.9488). The legislation would strengthen penalties against repeat violent offenders.
Under the bill, any adult previously convicted of assault of a child within the past 10 years would be charged with aggravated assault for attacking a child younger than 11 years old. The bill would make any assault on a child under 11 years old a class D felony, carrying a maximum sentence of seven years. Additionally, the bill would make a third child abuse offense a class B felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years.
What happened to Jay J. is unthinkable and itís outrageous to think that his father, who had abused another child before, would receive such a short prison sentence. While we cannot undo what happened to Jay J., we can do everything in our power to make sure it doesnít happen to another child. Jay Jís Law would stiffen penalties against repeat child abusers, ensuring that they donít get off the hook for their heinous acts.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any other important community issue, please call me at 686-0080 or email me at email@example.com.