Griffo supports Brittany’s Law, database for domestic violence offenders

Published Jun 17, 2017 at 4:00pm

ALBANY — Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, joined his colleagues Wednesday in the New York State Senate to urge the state assembly to pass the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, also known as “Brittany’s Law.” The law, if passed, would develop a statewide database for domestic violence offenders.

“People should know if the man or woman they are considering a relationship with has punched, beat or choked another person in a past crime of domestic violence,” Griffo said. “How many times must a violent abuser show they are capable of severely hurting someone before we accept their potential victims have a right to protect themselves?”

Senators Catherine Young, R-57, and Pam Helming, R-54, stood with Griffo in support of the law. Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, R-Canandaigua, urged his fellow assembly members to pass the law. “The senate has overwhelmingly passed Brittany’s Law six times, with bipartisan support, but Assembly Democrats have refused to address the scourge of domestic violence,” Kolb said. “Their obstruction is inexplicable, irresponsible and unacceptable.”

Hope defined

Brittany’s Law would require convicted domestic violence offenders to register with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services upon parole or release from incarceration, hospitalization or institutionalization.

The information would then be available to the public through a registry similar to the one use for sexual offenders under Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law is also known as the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Under Megan’s Law, sex offenders are required to register with the State after conviction, or if they serve time in prison, upon their release, and also notify the registry when they relocate. Sex offenders who move to New York from another state also must register. There are more than 14,000 convicted sex offenders registered in New York State under the law.

Anyone interested in finding registered sex offenders in their area may dial 1-800-262-3257.

Family support

Brittany’s Law was drafted in response to the murder of 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua and her mother, Helen Buchel, of Geneva, Wayne County. John Edward Brown had been released from prison after serving two-and-a-half years after assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Buchel was unaware of his past and began dating him.

Brittany’s grandmothers, Dale Driscoll and Joan Tandle, joined Griffo in support of the law.

“There is no bringing Helen and Brittany back, but what we can do is learn from this to protect other victims. To continue to ignore this issue is unconscionable,” Driscoll said.