DAD’S LEGAL APPEALS DELAY CHILD’S HEALING
D, 16, filed charges against her father when she was 12, and on March 18 last year he was convicted by a jury of second degree rape, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. The rape was part of a pattern of abuse she said that started at age 8. Fifteen months have passed since her father was convicted and on July 31, Suffolk County Court Judge John Mullin gave her father the maximum prison term of 2 1/3 to 7 years. But, her father has yet to spend a night in jail. This has had a negative impact on D that resulted in her being placed under county supervision. Because her father filed an appeal and State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Pitts granted a stay, or postponement of the sentence during the appellate process, the defendant lives on Long Island under no restrictions except for an order of protection to stay away from his daughter. D gets professional help from the probation department, which monitors her movements, and from Laura Ahearn, the executive director of Parents For Megan's Law, who counsels D and helped draft a measure that expands the statute that denies bail to those convicted of the more serious sex felonies, such as first degree rape. It shortens the appeal process, requiring defense attorneys to submit their appellate arguments within 60 days of the filing of the notice of appeal after a conviction. The proposed law, which passed in the state Senate last month and is being reviewed in the codes committee of the Assembly, would keep convicted sex felons in jail during appeals and shorten the appeals process.