Guest Op-Ed: New laws help crime victims


Once a criminal case is closed, crime victims still face a life heavily altered by that crime, often with peace of mind hard to find. That’s why recent legislation signed into law, which I supported, is essential for protecting crime victims and their families.

This is disturbing to contemplate, but there have been cases where sex offenders have sought to exercise parental rights of a child who was conceived as a result of a sexual assault. It’s incredibly cruel that the law did not distinguish between a parent in normal circumstances and a parent whose sexual assault brought about conception.

That’s why the Assembly passed a law I supported that protects sexual assault victims and their children by limiting the parental rights of sex offenders (Ch. 371 of 2013).

Prior law didn’t restrict custody and visitation rights when the birth of a child was the result of the assault, except in some circumstances involving first-degree rape with forcible compulsion.

As a result, sex offenders were allowed to seek court-ordered visitation and custody in the same manner as traditional parents – and sometimes did so in an attempt to intimidate victims and deter them from cooperating with prosecutors.

The new law expands protections for women and their children conceived as a result of rape in the first or second degree; course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree; or predatory sexual assault or predatory sexual assault against a child.

Specifically, this law presumes that it is against the best interests of the child to allow a sex offender to have custody of, or visit with a child who was conceived as a result of sexual assault; denies the sex offender the right to receive notice of adoption proceedings; and excludes the sex offender from the right to receive notice of social services proceedings like foster care, guardianship and custody.

Additionally, the Assembly passed a law that further protects domestic violence victims (Ch. 368 of 2013). This law expands access to the state Order of Protection Registry to local correctional facilities employees as well as employees of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) who are responsible for monitoring, supervising or classifying inmates or parolees.

By giving these employees access to the registry, they can consider the crimes inmates are incarcerated for, the orders of protections issued against them and the safety of their victims when crafting release and supervision plans.

This will help to ensure that domestic abusers won’t come into contact with their victims – helping to provide them with a safer environment.

As your Assembly representative, I am committed to efforts to make our community a better – and safer – place to live and raise a family. These new laws are an important step toward providing safety and peace of mind for crime victims, who are working each day to move forward and put the crimes they endured behind them.

Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny represents the 46th A.D.

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