EDITORIAL: Keeping the Children Safe

October 13, 2011 Editorial Staff
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Our thanks go to two area legislators, who are continuing thepush to keep our children safe.

State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakisare introducing legislation in Albany that would increase thepenalty for adults who attempt to lure anyone under the age of 17for criminal activity or sexual encounters, whether the efforttakes place on line through such social media outlets as Facebookor in person, utilizing a vehicle or by meeting in a secludedarea.

Now, those individuals who commit such actions, thereby endangeringthe welfare of a child, can only be charged with a class Amisdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison. Should thelegislation sponsored by Golden and Malliotakis pass, those whocommit such infractions could be charged with a class D felony,which brings the potential for stiffer penalties – as much as fiveyears in prison, and fines of $500 to $7,500.

Also subject to the increased penalties would be individuals whoutilize the computer to harass someone under the age of 17 with thepurpose of soliciting a sexual encounter or committing a criminaloffense; harassment of a minor via computer is not currentlycovered by existing law.

Such efforts are right on target. With the memory of Leiby Kletzky– the Boro Park boy who was murdered and dismembered this summer,allegedly by someone he asked for help when he was lost on thestreets of his own neighborhood – still fresh, the time is now toact to increase safety for the youngest and often most vulnerablemembers of society.

In addition, we applaud the legislators for broadening the arena toinclude both in person and online activities – a critical stepgiven the increasing vulnerability of children when they browse theInternet, and utilize popular social media sites.

In an ideal world, there would be no need for such punitivemeasures. However, here in the real world, we are glad that theneeds of children are being championed by those with the power tohelp them.

Now, it is up to the remainder of the state legislature andGovernor Cuomo to do the right thing, and help ensure the safety ofNew York’s kids.

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