Assemblyman Sean T. Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean, introduced legislation today making it a crime of the fourth degree to lure or entice a mentally incapacitated person to commit an act likely to be injurious to his or her welfare.
The legislation was developed after Kean learned of the incident with Parker Drake, a 19-year-old with autism, who was encouraged by two men to jump off the Manasquan jetty into the freezing cold ocean in February. This event was even more disturbing because the men filmed Parker Drake as he struggled to swim in the ocean and make it to shore; they also posted the video on social media.
“This terrible situation and the callous acts of these two men demonstrated the need for this legislation,” stated Kean. “It is not acceptable to lure a person to put themselves in harm’s way, especially if that person is mentally incapacitated and may not understand the situation or the person’s intentions. Enticing a person to do something that could harm or kill them is terrible, but to do this to a person who may not understand the situation is malicious and it should be a fourth degree crime.”
Kean discussed this legislation with Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni and asked for his input.
“I am thankful for the open relationship I have with our elected officials from Monmouth County at all levels of government,” said Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. “Co-equal branches of the government working together is what our constituents expect from their elected and appointed officials.”
Kean’s bill, A-4396, would make it a crime of the fourth degree for a person who knows or reasonably should know that another person is mentally incapacitated to lure or entice that person to commit an act that is reasonably likely to be injurious to his or her physical, mental or moral welfare. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
“Mentally incapacitated” is defined as that condition in which a person is rendered temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding or controlling one’s conduct, or of appraising or controlling one’s condition, which incapacity shall include but is not limited to an inability to comprehend one’s own peril.