Bailey Bates, a 19 year old autistic man was targeted and financially victimized by two individuals with criminal histories and took advantage of his cognitive disability. The two perpetrators cajoled Bailey into granting them access to his disability assistance account and stole several hundred dollars. Bailey’s family became aware of the transaction and immediately contacted law enforcement at which point it was inherently obvious he had no awareness that he was the victim of a crime and Bailey didn’t fully understand the circumstances around the theft.
Bailey became very upset, and tragically a week after he was victimized by the two con artists, took his own life. Based on the note he left behind it was clear he felt culpable in this nefarious scenario. The two criminals, were aware of Bailey’s disability, made him an unwitting accomplice for the theft of his own disability assistance resources, and under current law, they will not be held accountable for their direct role in his death.
Senator Sue Serino drafted “Bailey’s Law” (S8541) to amend the penal code to address such heinous crimes to protect the vulnerable from predators and hold them accountable with real consequences as deemed appropriate by the criminal justice system. With a greater than two-thirds vote in favor, “Bailey’s Law” passed smoothly through the State Senate last week with strong support. In order to become law, however, it needs to additionally pass in the New York State Assembly, and then eventually be signed by the Governor.
Bailey’s mother, Gae Marie Cannon, asked her representative in the NYS Assembly, Didi Barrett, to sponsor the necessary sister bill in the Assembly that Senator Serino secured and advocated for in the NYS Senate. Didi has shamefully and inexplicably dragged her feet, and with just hours before the session ends, Barrett has not been an honest advocate.
Legislator Will Truitt said, “I call on Didi Barrett to immediately demand for an up or down vote on Bailey’s Law in the Assembly, give law enforcement the tools they need to help protect our most vulnerable population, and so that Bailey’s family may find justice in the crimes committed against their autistic son.”
According to the New York State Senate website; Bailey’s Law would hold perpetrators like these accountable by increasing penalties for endangering the welfare of a disabled person or a vulnerable elderly person when it significantly contributes to a victim’s suicide attempt, as it did in Bailey’s case. Bailey’s mother has been working to garner community support for the bill and has launched an online petition that currently has over 11,000 signatures.
Legislator Truitt went on to say, “This is precisely why I’m running for the New York State Assembly. I want to continue to represent my constituents in Hyde Park, Poughkeepsie and those across the 106th Assembly district at the state level to provide true local service and only be accountable to the people and not the New York City bosses that control Barrett. I find her lackluster effort to help a local family and vulnerable populations repugnant and further solidifies my commitment to run for the 106th Assembly District. I am determined to prevail this November for persons like Bailey and all the other vulnerable citizens of our once great state.”