Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree: NY Penal Law § 260.32

by ECL Writer
Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree

New York has established specific legal provisions aimed at safeguarding vulnerable individuals. These vulnerable groups include children, the elderly, those with mental incapacity, and individuals with physical disabilities. Pursuant to New York Penal Law § 260.32, caregivers can face prosecution for second-degree endangerment of the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person if:

  • They had the intent to cause physical injury to that individual,
  • They recklessly caused physical injury to that individual,
  • They caused physical injury to that individual using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument through criminal negligence, or
  • They engaged in sexual contact with that individual.

Sentence

Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree is a class E felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 4 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and a substantial fine.

Defenses

You can only be found guilty under this legislation if the prosecution can demonstrate that you acted intentionally or carelessly. According to New York Penal Law 15.05(3), you would have engaged in reckless behavior if you knew that your actions would cause a certain amount of harm but yet chose to act in that way. If the old person suffered physical harm but it wasn’t your fault and you weren’t careless, then you didn’t break the law.

New York Penal Law § 260.32: Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person second degree

A person commits the offense of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly individual in the second degree when acting as a caregiver for such an individual and:

  • Intentionally inflicts physical harm on the vulnerable elderly person.
  • Recklessly causes physical injury to the vulnerable elderly person.
  • Causes physical injury to the vulnerable elderly person through the use of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument due to criminal negligence.
  • Engages in non-consensual sexual contact with the vulnerable elderly person. Lack of consent in this context can result from forcible compulsion, incapacity to consent as defined in article one hundred thirty of this chapter, or any other situation in which the vulnerable elderly person does not willingly or implicitly agree to the caregiver’s actions.

In cases where lack of consent is solely due to the vulnerable elderly person’s mental disability or incapacity, the provisions of § 130.16 of this chapter shall be applicable in any prosecution under this section. Furthermore, in cases where the victim’s lack of consent is solely based on their incapacity to consent due to mental disability, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness, it is considered an affirmative defense that the defendant, at the time of their actions constituting the offense, was unaware of the circumstances responsible for such incapacity to consent.

Related Offenses

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