Biaggi-backed bill establishing rape kit tracking system passes Assembly and Senate

By SILE MOLONEY

Police say a 46-year-old man was arrested following a rape and robbery inside an elevator on Monday May 9 at Pelham Parkway.
Photo courtesy of the NYPD

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (SD 34) announced that on June 2, a majority of the state Senate passed the bill she sponsored to establish a rape kit tracking system in the state. New York State. The bill also passed the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, and is now awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul’s approval.

Bill S7867A/A9596 will direct the Division of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the State Department of Health, Office of Victim Services, State Police Division, and the Coalition to New York State Against Sexual Abuse, to develop and implement a statewide electronic tracking system. for evidence collection kits. Rape kits are used to collect and preserve evidence of sexual assault or other sexual offenses.

Amid the new legislation, the senator, who represents parts of Bronx and Westchester counties, released a statement saying, “Unfortunately, it is extremely common for survivors to leave hospital after a sexual assault and not receive no information on the status of their rape kits. Survivors who seek updates report that they face additional trauma, victim blaming and disregard when following up with law enforcement. She added, “By implementing a rape kit tracking system, we will restore agency to survivors and allow them access to information about the status of their rape kit, if and when they are ready.

Biaggi, who is currently a congressional candidate in New York’s 17th congressional district and is a survivor of sexual abuse, continued, “A rape kit tracking system will provide survivors with a sense of control and self-determination, and will serve as a crucial tool. holding hospitals, law enforcement, and state labs accountable for timely treatment. She thanked Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Paulin and fellow lawmakers for their support in passing what she described as essential legislation. “I can’t wait for it to be enacted,” she said.

Meanwhile Westchester MP Paulin thanked Biaggi and her colleagues for their support for the bill and said: ‘Institute a sexual assault case tracking system is a crucial step in bringing justice to survivors. This access can empower survivors and counter the loss of self-determination and control that is often at the heart of a sexual assault live.” She added, “Victims of sexual assault have been through enough already and should be given the ability to access their information – a potentially key step in their healing process.

As noted, Biaggi previously sponsored legislation S452 (A5519A) which called for the amendment of an existing state law to remove the so-called “voluntary intoxication loophole”, to ensure victims of sexual assault that may become intoxicated voluntarily, benefit from the same protection as victims of sexual assault who become intoxicated involuntarily.

Biaggi and other supporters of passing the bill said at the time that it would avoid blaming victims, protect everything rape victims, regardless of how intoxicated they become, and would send a message to all New Yorkers that a person’s choice to drink alcohol or use drugs is not an invitation to be sexually assaulted. The bill is still in the legislative process at the committee level.

As reported, the NYPD confirmed that a man was arrested for rape and robbery on May 9 at Pelham Parkway. At the time, police officials said: “In accordance with an ongoing investigation, the following individual was arrested and charged on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 2:11 a.m. [a.m.]within the 49th Ward limits: Ramon Rotestan, 46, male, 3560 Webster Avenue, Apt#10F, Bronx, NY. »

On May 31, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced that Rotestan had been charged with predatory sexual assault, first-degree rape, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, abuse sexual in the first degree and criminal in the fourth degree. possession of a weapon before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. He was taken into custody and is due back in court on August 16.

In the context of the case, Clark said: ‘The defendant allegedly brutally attacked a woman at knifepoint, stealing her money and then raping her. The accused was on parole for rape and theft when he committed this crime. We will do everything in our power to keep Bronx women safe. »

Rotestan is a registered sex offender and was paroled from state prison 39 days before the attack for convictions of first-degree rape, sexual abuse and robbery. Norwood News has contacted the parole board for more information on his parole conditions and will update this story upon receipt of any information in this regard.

POLICE SAID a 46-year-old man was arrested in connection with a rape and robbery inside an elevator on Monday May 9 at Pelham Parkway.
Photo courtesy of the NYPD

We also reported on May 23 that a 44-year-old Bronx man, Timothy Harnett, who is homeless, was charged with abducting a woman and raping her for five days in an abandoned building in the section Fordham Manor from The Bronx. According to Clark, “The defendant allegedly held a 28-year-old woman captive for days, raping her and beating her with a tire iron. The victim managed to escape with the help of a passerby. The accused was charged with several counts for having terrorized this woman. He is due back in court on August 9.

In March, we reported how a man was charged with the alleged attempted rape of a pregnant woman in the Melrose section of the Bronx. According to the investigation, on August 9, 2021, around 2:30 a.m., the victim, a 37-year-old woman, then five months pregnant, was sitting alone on the porch of her building. on Morris Avenue when the accused, Amara Doumbouya, 27, who was apprehended in Cincinnati, Ohio, allegedly approached her and made lewd remarks to her.

When the victim began to enter her building, Doumbouya allegedly grabbed her and pulled her shirt over her face, covering her nose and mouth, and wrapped her scarf around her neck until she could no longer to breathe. He then allegedly threw her to the ground and dragged her into the vestibule of the building, stripped her of her clothes, climbed on top of her and tried to kiss her.

Doumbouya then allegedly punched and kicked the victim repeatedly and used his body to cover his nose and mouth, causing him to experience a stupor. A neighbor heard the victim scream and came to his aid. Doumbouya reportedly fled. The neighbor called 911 and the victim was taken to a local hospital for bruising, swelling, neck, back and abdominal pain, and mouth lacerations. He was taken into custody and was due back in court on May 17. No judgment has yet been pronounced.

More recently, Norwood News also reported a pattern of robbery and sexual assault identified in the northeast Bronx that involved coercive sex acts on two young teenagers at knifepoint in two separate incidents.

As of June 5, cumulative (reported) rapes in the Bronx are up 10.7% (165) from 149 during the same period in 2021. In the 50th Precinct, which covers Kingsbridge, Marble Hill, Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale and Fieldston, rape incidents since the beginning of the year (11) increased by 57.1% compared to the same period last year (7).

In the 47th Ward, which covers Woodlawn, Wakefield, Williamsbridge, Baychester, Edenwald, Olinville, Fishbay and Woodlawn Cemetary, rape incidents year-to-date (22) are up 29.4% from the same period last year (17).

In the 52nd Ward, which covers Bedford Park, Fordham, Kingsbridge, Norwood, Bronx Park and University Heights, year-to-date rape incidents (11) are down 26.7% from the same period l last year (15).

In the 46th Ward, which covers Fordham, University Heights, Morris Heights and Mount Hope, rape incidents year-to-date (10) are up 11.1% from the same time last year ( 9).

As also reported, a Bronx sex offender, sentenced to 10 years in prison in May 2022, was released on bail in January 2021, despite being hit, as a co-defendant, just four months earlier with 22 counts which include the sex trafficking of a child and the promotion of prostitution, and separate charges of rape, criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted strangulation. Released on bail, he attempted to traffic a former victim and was arrested again the following month.

A person arrested and charged with a crime is deemed innocent unless and until convicted by a court.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available: Bronx County District Attorney Crime Victims Assistance Unit 198 East 161st St. Bronx 10451, phone (718) 590-2114 or (718) 590-2115; Bronx Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Inc. 3101 Kingsbridge Terrace Bronx 10463, phone (718) 884-0700 or (718) 884-0700 or (212) 227-3000.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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