Convicted sex offenders will no longer be able to claim any parental rights over children conceived in a sexual attack, according to a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
The law eliminates a loophole where certain convicted rapists could request visitation or to be notified of adoptions of any children born out of their crime. Only first degree rape offenders were barred from any contact.
The new law, however, protects children conceived out of rape in the first or second degree, and also includes course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree, predatory sexual assault, or predatory sexual assault against a child.
Children of sex crimes are protected from being placed in custody or even visiting their attacker parent. At the same time, the sex offender loses any right to be notified in the case that their child is adopted or is placed in any custody situation, such as foster care.
"By restricting the parental rights of sexual offenders whose crimes have resulted in the birth of a child, we are providing protection for the mother and child from being harassed, intimidated or frightened by the perpetrator, and ensuring that these criminals are held accountable and penalized for their actions," Cuomo said in a statement.
According to Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, some sex offenders had used visitation rights and custody requests as a way to discourage victims from pressing charges.
"I wanted this loophole closed. I wanted to prevent these monsters from ever harming the women they attacked again. These women will carry enough emotional baggage for the rest of their lives and, in many cases, be reminded of it every time they look at their child. I wanted them to have some measure of peace," she said.
The governor also signed a second bill Monday that gives workers at prisons access to the State Order of Protection Registry, a database that will allow them to see more about the victims to factor into any release plans for inmates.