WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It only took five days as a free man for 31-year-old Rhennad Burch to end up back behind bars. Watervliet police say Burch was arrested Wednesday after allegedly breaking into a home and raping a 15-year-old girl the night before, April 5.
Burch had just been released from prison on parole March 31 after serving two years for raping another 16-year-old girl.
“Just unthinkable that an adult could do this to a young child,” says Lieutenant Brian Strock.
This is not the first time Burch has bounced between jail and the free world. After his conviction of rape in the third degree back in 2019, he was paroled once in March 2021. He violated his parole when he cut off his ankle monitor in November 2021, was convicted of criminal contempt, and went straight back behind bars.
This most recent arrest not only violates his parole, it also violates an order of protection against a completely separate victim in a domestic violence case. That victim was also in the home the night Burch allegedly broke in, and Strock says the 15-year-old victim and Burch were “known to each other”. Despite repeated violations, Strock says his department learned late Friday afternoon that revoking Burch’s parole is off the table.
“New York State Parole [Board] is declining to revoke Burch’s parole status, largely in part due to the new procedures set forth within the Less is More legislation,” Strock explains to reporters during a press conference.
The Less is More Act passed in late 2021 limits how and when a person can be re-incarcerated based on technical parole violations or when they are accused of a new crime. Some provisions only went into effect March 1, 2022, with the full legislation effective in July. Lieutenant Stock says he believes Burch is a case and point that the laws are too lenient.
“I personally feel as though these policies have forgotten our victims, and I think this Less is More legislation is a classic case of that,” he says.
While supporters of the laws say they bolster due process, Lt. Strock says Watervilet police and other law enforcement agencies are frustrated when they can’t keep criminals off the streets.
“Especially in this case here where there is clear, clear evidence that Burch has demonstrated an unwillingness to change his ways,” he adds.
Burch remains remanded to Albany County Jail without bail; however, Strock said following his press conference Burch had submitted a bail petition and could have possibly been released until his next court appearance.
“I know our victim is scared, as well as the victim’s family. Our concern is that he may re-victimize other children,” he said.
Later Friday evening, Strock updated NEWS10 that Burch’s bail petition was denied by Judge Rodger McDonough. His next court appearance will be Monday morning.