At an Albany attorney general debate earlier today, Nassau district attorney Kathleen Rice accused chief rival Eric Schneiderman–who was a debate no-show–of failing to pass a bill out of committee that would have made it a felony to lure children over the Internet. Said Rice:
I have been very supportive of a law that would allow DAs like me to charge sexual predators who try to lure our children over the Internet. We have no luring statute here in the State of New York. And I’m sure my other colleagues are upset that Senator Schneiderman is not here but I particularly wish that he was here to answer this question: the luring bill is pending right now in the Codes Committee in the Senate, and that’s a committee that Senator Schneiderman is in charge of. It has languished there for a year. And my question to Senator Schneiderman would be, ‘Do you even know that,’ ‘Why is it languishing there for a year,’ and ‘Will you work together with me to pass a luring statute so that we can protect our children from the worst of the worst child sexual predators?'”
The bill Rice is referring to would make it a felony to entice a child on the Internet, classifying it as a C felony. According to her campaign, there is a hole in state law which doesn’t recognize Internet luring and forces prosecutors to use lesser statutes that carry small amounts of jail time.
Asked to respond, the Schneiderman campaign hit back furiously, accusing Rice of not knowing the law, and saying that the bill that she supports actually would actually make it harder for prosecutors to convict sexual predators.
Said Schneiderman campaign manager Emily Arsenault in a statement:
“With all due respect, now we know why multiple editorial pages have said in recent days that Ms. Rice lacks a grasp of the issues facing this office. While Ms. Rice called for making internet luring a felony in her commercial, it already is one. And while she attacked Eric Schneiderman for not supporting making internet luring a felony, it turns out he voted for a luring bill that was enacted in 2008, while Ms. Rice’s preferred measure would actually require more proof than currently required to convict. If Ms. Rice wants to actually make it harder to convict internet predators, that’s her right, but she should make sure she has the facts straight.”
One gets the feeling this is not the last we have heard of this matter. A few items of note here. One is that Rice appears to be going for a trifecta against Schneiderman with this hit, that he is a) a creature of dysfunctional Albany (can’t even get a darn bill on sexual predators passed?) b) soft on crime, and c) ducking the hard questions, since he is absent from the debate. As for Schneiderman, note that the statement is attributed to campaign manager Emily Arsenault. Schneiderman’s words are harsh, basically accusing Rice of being a lightweight, so it is better to have them come from a woman.
Rice video below: