ALBANY, N.Y. – After the deaths of several small children, and calls for stronger child abuse laws, two area district attorneys are teaming up with members of law enforcement to try to get tougher laws passed.
At just 3-months-old, with big brown eyes, Brett looked like the perfect baby. His life came to an abrupt end just over one week ago when authorities say his father, 30-year-old Kevin King, killed him.
Then there is 5-year-old Gary Carpenter, a young life cut short in a similar way - at the hands of someone who was supposed to be protecting him. His mother's live-in boyfriend, Brandon Warrington, was convicted in young Gary's murder.
These are the latest cases in a series of reports of child abuse and child murders in Warren and Washington Counties. Now, district attorneys are calling for legislation called the Child Protection Act to be passed into law.
"It does seem unusual the number of cases we have had in our county over the past year," said Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan. "It's not just that these children are injured, it's the brutality with which they're injured."
Hogan, who helped craft the legislation, says it would add six new felony crimes to state statutes. Hogan explains it would give police and prosecutors additional options in charging those accused of child abuse.
Under current law, a prosecutor has to prove depraved indifference.
"When you have to prove depraved indifference it has to be heinous, torturous, prolonged over a period of time," said Hogan.
"The biggest challenge is always getting enough information to bring it to court because a lot of times this is one on one. A child versus an adult and it's very tough for a child to talk about it," said Warren County Sheriff Bud York about why he believes the Child protection Act is needed.
"If you kill a child, surely, a child who can't protect themselves who is the more vulnerable of all victims. Surely that punishment should be the same as other levels of crime. I think more children deserve more protection and the child protection act provides a statutory scheme that can hold offenders accountable and protect children," said Hogan
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