Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) joined his Assembly minority colleagues at a press conference in Albany today to demand action on a permanent resolution to an expiring provision of Megan’s Law.
The Assembly minority is calling for a lifetime enrollment of all convicted sex offenders on the state Sex Offender Registry, while Speaker Sheldon Silver and his majority favor – and passed Monday evening – legislation providing a 14-month extension of the provision. The state Senate already has passed legislation calling for the permanent and lifelong registration of most sex offenders.
The 10-year registration mandate for certain Level 1 and 2 sex offenders on the state Sex Offender Registry will end January 21, and the identities and locations of 168 of the convicted predators will be dropped from the registry during the first 24 hours. By year’s end, information about more than 3,500 sex offenders would disappear from the registry if the provision is not amended or extended.
“The citizens of New York deserve a definitive and permanent resolution to the expiration of this part of Megan’s Law, not what is being currently proposed by the Assembly majority, a 14-month extension,” said Fitzpatrick.
Legislative proposals have been continually advanced that would establish lifetime registration on the state Sex Offender Registry for all sex offenders, regardless of classification; expand the information available on the Internet to include all registered sex offenders; strengthen the community notification process to ensure the public receives necessary information from law enforcement about all sex offenders living in their communities; and improve offender address verification by eliminating the loophole which currently hampers the sex offender address verification process.
In addition to Megan’s Law legislation, a legislative package has been advanced that includes proposals for civil confinement of the most dangerous sexual predators; creating longer prison sentences for perpetrators of sexually violent crimes; ending the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assaults; and requiring all criminals to submit DNA samples.
“In addition to Megan’s Law, the Legislature needs to pass meaningful legislation that addresses civil confinement, establishes longer and harsher sentences for sex crimes against children, ends the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assaults, and the expansion of the state DNA databank,” added Fitzpatrick.
Civil Confinement of Sexually Violent Predators
Civil confinement would allow the courts to order the most dangerous convicted sex offenders – classified as Level 3 predators – held in secure mental-health facilities beyond their prison release dates if, upon extensive evaluation and unanimous jury verdicts, it is determined they could strike again. Under current law, sexually violent predators are released into communities once their sentences are finished despite the strong possibility they will offend again.
Longer Sentences for Perpetrators of Sexually Violent Crimes
Increasing prison sentences for crimes that involve the abuse, molestation or rape of children, or violent or repeated sexual assaults, would ensure that dangerous sexual predators who prey on New York’s children and families would remain confined.
Requiring All Criminals to Give DNA Samples
Expansion of the state DNA databank would help state law enforcement personnel solve many of the more than 16,000 unsolved crimes for which forensic crime scene evidence has been entered into the databank.
End the Statute of Limitations on Rape, Sexual Assaults and Related Crimes
Advance legislation that, in prosecutions of suspects for specified sex crimes such as rape, criminal sexual acts, aggravated sexual abuse and sexual crimes against a child, the five-year statute of limitations period would not start until available DNA evidence directly connects defendants to the commission of those crimes, provided victims report the crimes within five years of their occurrence.