Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed Jay-J's Law, legislation that allows for tougher penalties against repeat child abusers.
The law is named after a young North Tonawanda boy named Jay-J Bolvin, who was severely beaten by his father in 2011 when he was just an infant. The man, Jeremy Bolvin, had a previous assault conviction for beating another son four years earlier.
Prior to Monday's passage, the "look-back period" to elevate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony was only three years. That period has now been increased to 10 years, which, in the case of Jay-J's father, would have allowed for a longer prison sentence.
Had Jay-J's Law law been in effect at the time, Jeremy Bolvin would have faced up to four years in prison, as opposed to one year.
Jay-J, now 3, suffers from developmental issues and epilepsy as a result of the attack, which fractured 11 bones. He is being cared for by family members, who lobbied vigorously for the law.
“Assaulting a child is a heinous crime that must be met with the strictest of punishments,” Cuomo said, in a statement. “By enacting Jay-J’s Law we are taking a step forward in safeguarding children across New York State, and immediately ensuring that repeat offenders are met with heightened penalties that match the seriousness of their actions.”
The bill was sponsored by State Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak. Kennedy praised the efforts of Jay-J's family, saying their leadership, courage, and dedication served as an inspiration throughout the legislative process.
"We're getting the message out there that abuse of our young, most vulnerable in this society is not tolerated in New York State," Kennedy said Monday.
"It's absolutely unconscionable that the courts could not prosecute this monster with repeat child abuse and aggravated assault against a child because the laws in New York State didn't allow them to do so."
The new guidelines take effect immediately.