A recently passed piece of legislation in the New York State Senate aims to protect children by increasing penalties for those who sexually abuse them.
The bill, S1882, “provides that sexual contact upon a person under the age of 13 by a person 21 years-of-age or older shall be sexual abuse in the first degree.”
Currently, to be classified as first degree the perpetrated has to be 18 or older and the victim 11 or younger. Sexual abuse of victims who are 12 or 13 is classified as a misdemeanor.
“Current law is inconsistent and dangerous, especially in a world where 12 and 13 year olds are using the same modes of communication as the most tech-savvy pedophiles,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “Those who would sexually abuse young teens must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, which our bill will guarantee.”
While a misdemeanor conviction means the person faces 15 days to one year in prison, the felony conviction could be up to seven years in prison instead.
Although it has already passed in the Senate, with 60 in favor, one against and one excused, action on the legislation is still pending in the Assembly.