Standing outside the Pearl River library on Monday, Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R,C,I,SAM-Pearl River) and State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick hosted a press conference to advocate for the passage of “Paula’s Law,” a proposed expansion of a state law which prevents anyone who murders a child under the age of 18 during a sexual attack from seeking parole. The bill (A.6017) is named after Paula Bohovesky, a 16-year-old who was bludgeoned to death in a Pearl River alley by two men in 1980.
“Joan’s Law”, signed in 1987 currently prohibits parole for someone who murders a child under the age of 14. However, Paula was 16 years old at the time of her attack and as such, her convicted murderers are eligible for early release. One of Paula’s murderers was paroled in 2019 and later arrested again in 2020 for parole violations. The other murderer is up for parole in June. Paula’s family is fighting for him to stay in prison, and part of that battle is ensuring the passage of “Paula’s Law” – which raises the age from 14 to 18.
“As a state, we shouldn’t be releasing vicious, inhumane and unapologetic child rapists and murderers back into our societies, let alone be giving them the right to vote. Attackers who sexually assault and murder our youth do not deserve the chance to strike again, be released, and re-offend,” said Lawler.
“The parole board made a massive mistake in releasing one of Paula’s killers. We are advocating that her other attacker not be mistakenly set free.”