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Pushing a Tougher Penalty for Repeat Child Abusers

6:16 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - As New York State lawmakers get closer to the end of another legislative session in Albany, they will hear from groups pushing for new laws or funding. Relatives of a now three-year-old boy who was abused by his father wants Jay J's Law passed this year.

Jay J suffered broken bones and brain damage when he was severely beaten by his father Jeremy Bolvin. Bolvin is now serving a four-year prison sentence and his request for early release has been been denied twice.

The North Tonawanda boy's great-uncle and grandparents want the law named after him passed to save other children from the hands of abusers. Jay J's Law would make the penalty stricter for repeat child abusers. A person with a previous conviction for assaulting a child under age 11 could face a maximum seven-year prison sentence. If the act happens three times, the maximum punishment would be 25-years in state prison.

Next Monday, Kevin Retzer and other relatives are heading to Albany to meet with members of the New York State Assembly and Senate. They went last year and won over state senators, but the bill failed to be voted on in the Assembly. 

"One of the things Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told us when we met with him last year was, bring us facts," Retzer said. "A fact that we've come up with is that 10-children die a day in this country from preventable child abuse."

State Senator Tim Kennedy sponsored the law and is hopeful for passage this year. 

"We're willing to compromise on language, we're not willing to compromise on the intent of the bill. If you're a repeat child abuser, you need to go to jail for a long time," said Kennedy.

The law, if passed, would allow some severe cases to be prosecuted as first-degree assaults.

A State Senator from the Bronx was in Buffalo and chimed in about Jay J's Law. Senator Jeffrey Klein told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing, "Jay J puts a face on a very horrible situation and a horrible crime. I'm hopeful we can get this passed in the Assembly. I don't think we had any no votes, it passed by a great majority in the State Senate," last year.

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