Parker, Persaud Lead Way On Anti-Bullying Legislation


Brooklyn State Senators Kevin Parker (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Park Slope) and Roxanne Persaud (Canarsie, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, East New York) joined a coalition of officials, community groups and social activists today in urging the State Legislature to pass landmark anti-bullying legislation that would impose stiffer prison sentences on perpetrators.

The E-Impersonation Prevention Act (S5871-A) broadens the definition of cyberbullying and elevates the crime from a mere misdemeanor to a felony— punishable by up to seven years behind bars.

Sen. Kevin Parker
Sen. Kevin Parker

“Momentum is building,” said Parker, who sponsored the bill and cleared it through committee and now wants it brought to the full Senate for a vote.  “But, we all need to make a major push so this much needed legislation becomes law. Cyberbullies operating in the shadows must be unmasked, unplugged and punished. They are ruining reputations and ruining lives. They need to be stopped.”

Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal introduced a companion bill in the Assembly. “The E-Impersonation Prevention Act will help victims of internet-based impersonation get the justice they deserve by making it easier for law enforcement to secure convictions,” she said.

The proposed measure establishes a “false pretense” offense as a felony: impersonating someone online in order to harm, threaten, intimidate or defraud that person. The law targets predators who assume the identity of their victim and post false, malicious, scandalous or inflammatory content in their victim’s name.

Currently, law enforcement officials have told victims they are unable during investigations to get judicial subpoenas forcing telephone and Internet providers to turn over crucial account information because the laws on the books are insufficient or nonexistent.  Account information is often necessary to determine who is responsible for instances of cyberbullying.

Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud
Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud

“The E-Impersonation Prevention Act is a proactive way to deter cyber-bullying,” said Persaud said. “Cyber-bullying is a form of violence that affects over fifty-percent of our teen and adolescent population in New   York. These criminals are often identified but never appropriately punished because of antiquated or non-existent laws. It is time that we increase and enforce the penalties for these harmful acts. As a society we will no longer allow these digital bullies to ruin the lives of others without fear of a just penalty.”

For more on the information on the measure click here.