This bill has been amended

Bill S6132-2011

Establishes offense for the electronic stalking of minors

Establishes offense for the electronic stalking of minors within the class A misdemeanor of stalking in the third degree; establishes offenses of criminal impersonation by electronic means; includes harassment by electronic means within the class A misdemeanor of aggravated harassment in the second degree.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CODES

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BILL NUMBER:S6132

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the penal law, in relation to the electronic stalking of a minor, criminal impersonation by means of electronic communications and aggravated harassment by means of electronic communication

PURPOSE:

This anti-cyberbullying legislation will: create a new penal law definition of "electronic communication"; a stalking in the third degree offense when a person intentionally engages in a course of conduct using electronic communication directed at a child under the age of 21, causing reasonable fear of or actual harm to the child; and an aggravated harassment in the second degree offense for electronic communication transmitted with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1. Amends section 120.40 of the penal law by adding a new subdivision 6 that defines "electronic communication" any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optional system. Electronic communication shall include, but not be limited to, the transfer of such communications through the internet.

Section 2. Amends section 120.50 of the penal law by adding a new subdivision 5, which states a person is guilty of stalking in the third degree when he or she intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct using electronic communication directed at a child under the age of twenty-one years, and knows or reasonably should know that such conduct: (a) causes reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such child; or (b) causes material harm to the physical health, emotional health, safety or property of such child.

For the purposes of this paragraph, a single electronic communication, transmitted to multiple recipients, may be deemed to be a course of conduct directed at a child under the age of twenty-one years even though such communication was not received by such a child.

Section 3. Amends the penal law by adding a new subdivision 5 to section 190.25 which states a person is guilty of criminal impersonation in the second degree, an A misdemeanor, when he or she impersonates another person by electronic communication, and thereby commits a misdemeanor. For the purposes of this subdivision,

"electronic communication" shall mean any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optional system. Electronic communication shall include, but not be limited to, the transfer of such communications through the Internet.

Section 4. Amends the penal law by adding a new subdivision 4 to section 190.26 which states a person is guilty of criminal impersonation in the first degree, an E felony, when he or she impersonates another person by electronic communication, and thereby commits a felony. For the purposes of this subdivision, "electronic communication" shall mean any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optional system. Electronic communication shall include, but not be limited to, the transfer of such communication through the Internet.

Section 5. Amends section 240.00 of the penal law by adding a new subdivision 7 that defines "electronic communication" any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optional system. Electronic communication shall include, but not be limited to, the transfer of such communications through the internet.

Section 6. Amends subdivision 1 of section 240.30 of the penal law to add electronic communications to telephone, telegraph, mail and recordings as eligible modes of transmission for the offense of aggravated harassment in the second degree.

Section 7. Effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

With the rapid development of information and communication technologies, a new form of bullying has emerged known as cyberbullying. With the use of cell phones and social networking sites, adolescent cruelty has been amplified and shifted from school yards and hallways to the Internet, where a nasty, profanity-laced comment, complete with an embarrassing photo, can be viewed by a potentially limited number of people, both known and unknown.

In addition to causing substantial psychological harm and emotional distress, cyberbullying has been blamed for nearly a dozen teen suicides. In September 2011, New Yorker Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year old boy from Williamsville, near Buffalo, NY, took his life after what his parents claim was yeas of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality.

This bill expands the existing crimes of stalking in the third degree and aggravated harassment in the second degree to include cyberbullying. Both offenses are class A misdemeanors, but are eligible to be elevated to felonies if additional hate crime criteria are present. The stalking offense will apply to conduct committed against individuals under the age of 21, but the aggravated harassment amendment will protect New Yorkers of all ages.

Existing laws in the state of New York are not currently adequate to properly address this new and emerging problem of cyberbullying. This bill seeks to bring the state's stalking and harassment statutes up-to-date, give bullies a concrete reason to quit their online antics, and provide victims and prosecutors with laws that can be enforced against this new breed of bully.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6132 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 4, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, CARLUCCI, SAVINO, VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to the electronic stalking of a minor, criminal impersonation by means of electronic communications and aggravated harassment by means of electronic communication THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 120.40 of the penal law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6 to read as follows: 6. "ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION" SHALL MEAN ANY TRANSFER OF SIGNS, SIGNALS, WRITINGS, IMAGES, SOUNDS, DATA OR INTELLIGENCE OF ANY NATURE TRANSMITTED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY A WIRE, RADIO, ELECTROMAGNETIC, PHOTO-ELECTRONIC OR PHOTO-OPTIONAL SYSTEM. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE TRANSFER OF SUCH COMMUNI- CATIONS THROUGH THE INTERNET. S 2. Subdivision 4 of section 120.50 of the penal law, as added by chapter 635 of the laws of 1999, is amended and a new subdivision 5 is added to read as follows: 4. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has previ- ously been convicted within the preceding ten years of stalking in the fourth degree[.]; OR 5. INTENTIONALLY, AND FOR NO LEGITIMATE PURPOSE, ENGAGES IN A COURSE OF CONDUCT USING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DIRECTED AT A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS, AND KNOWS OR REASONABLY SHOULD KNOW THAT SUCH CONDUCT: (A) CAUSES REASONABLE FEAR OF MATERIAL HARM TO THE PHYSICAL HEALTH, SAFETY OR PROPERTY OF SUCH CHILD; OR (B) CAUSES MATERIAL HARM TO THE PHYSICAL HEALTH, EMOTIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY OR PROPERTY OF SUCH CHILD. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH, A SINGLE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION TRANSMITTED TO MULTIPLE RECIPIENTS, MAY BE DEEMED TO BE A COURSE OF
CONDUCT DIRECTED AT A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS EVEN THOUGH SUCH COMMUNICATION WAS NOT RECEIVED BY SUCH A CHILD. S 3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 3 and subdivision 4 of section 190.25 of the penal law, paragraph (b) of subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 27 of the laws of 1980 and subdivision 4 as added by chapter 304 of the laws of 2008, are amended and a new subdivision 5 is added to read as follows: (b) so acts with intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority, to solicit funds or to otherwise cause another to act in reliance upon that pretense[.]; OR 4. Impersonates another by communication by internet website or elec- tronic means with intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud anoth- er, or by such communication pretends to be a public servant in order to induce another to submit to such authority or act in reliance on such pretense[.]; OR 5. IMPERSONATES ANOTHER PERSON BY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, AND THERE- BY COMMITS A MISDEMEANOR. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, "ELEC- TRONIC COMMUNICATION" SHALL MEAN ANY TRANSFER OF SIGNS, SIGNALS, WRIT- INGS, IMAGES, SOUNDS, DATA OR INTELLIGENCE OF ANY NATURE TRANSMITTED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY A WIRE, RADIO, ELECTROMAGNETIC, PHOTO-ELECTRONIC OR PHOTO-OPTIONAL SYSTEM. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE TRANSFER OF SUCH COMMUNICATIONS THROUGH THE INTERNET. S 4. Subdivision 3 of section 190.26 of the penal law, as added by chapter 2 of the laws of 1998, is amended and a new subdivision 4 is added to read as follows: 3. Pretending to be a duly licensed physician or other person author- ized to issue a prescription for any drug or any instrument or device used in the taking or administering of drugs for which a prescription is required by law, communicates to a pharmacist an oral prescription which is required to be reduced to writing pursuant to section thirty-three hundred thirty-two of the public health law[.]; OR 4. IMPERSONATES ANOTHER PERSON BY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, AND THERE- BY COMMITS A FELONY. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, "ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION" SHALL MEAN ANY TRANSFER OF SIGNS, SIGNALS, WRITINGS, IMAGES, SOUNDS, DATA OR INTELLIGENCE OF ANY NATURE TRANSMITTED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY A WIRE, RADIO, ELECTROMAGNETIC, PHOTO-ELECTRONIC OR PHOTO-OPTIONAL SYSTEM. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE TRANSFER OF SUCH COMMUNICATIONS THROUGH THE INTERNET. S 5. Section 240.00 of the penal law is amended by adding a new subdi- vision 7 to read as follows: 7. "ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION" MEANS ANY TRANSFER OF SIGNS, SIGNALS, WRITINGS, IMAGES, SOUNDS, DATA OR INTELLIGENCE OF ANY NATURE TRANSMITTED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY A WIRE, RADIO, ELECTROMAGNETIC, PHOTO-ELECTRONIC OR PHOTO-OPTIONAL SYSTEM. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE TRANSFER OF SUCH COMMUNICATIONS THROUGH THE INTERNET. S 6. Subdivision 1 of section 240.30 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 510 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: 1. Either (a) communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, BY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, by telegraph, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or (b) causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by tele- phone, BY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, by telegraph, or by mail, or by
transmitting or delivering any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or S 7. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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