Jamie Rose law proposed to help domestic violence victims
Legislation calls for mandatory reporting
MALONE — State Assemblyman Billy Jones and Sen. Betty Little have introduced legislation written in the wake of a tragic murder-suicide in Tupper Lake. The bill would require public officials and professionals to report suspected cases of domestic violence to superiors and social services.
The Jamie Rose Law, named after the mother of two who was killed by her ex-boyfriend at her Tupper Lake home in May last year, will be introduced into the Senate and Assembly in the 2018-19 legislative year.
The state currently requires certain professionals, such as social workers, medical workers and day care workers, to report signs of abuse toward children or the elderly to the state, but there is no mandatory reporting of adult domestic violence.
This law would mandate that a long list of people — from a coach to a podiatrist to a member of the clergy — notify the people in charge of their organization of suspected domestic violence and report those cases to social service agencies.
With Martin’s parents, grandparents, sister and a close friend in attendance, Jones and Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun, representing Little at the meeting, talked about the role every individual has in recognizing and reporting the red flags of domestic violence and abuse.
“Our society has bred a culture that we do not get involved in domestic disputes, that it’s not our business,” Jones said. “Well, today I’m here to say that ‘time is up.’ We are all accountable to help those who are vulnerable.”
Maroun gave advice for friends, family and strangers who see warning signs, as well as for those who may be in violent situations.
“If you think that someone is in danger, or someone could be in danger, don’t be afraid to report it,” Maroun said. “In an emergency, exit the situation and call the police.”
Jessica Cole, Martin’s friend, described how Martin was failed by the people who were supposed to protect her when she sought help and reported the fear and abuse she faced from her ex-boyfriend, Stacey Ayotte. The two had joint custody of their two children, but when Martin took reports of threats and court order violations to her lawyer, she was told her case was not strong enough.
On May 8, 2017, Cole recounts, the two brought their children to a doctor’s appointment. When Martin talked about signing their daughter up for soccer, Ayotte forcefully said he would not allow it.
“What Stacey said next alarmed Jamie and medical personnel in the next room,” Cole said. “He told Jamie that she did not have to worry about it because her days were coming to an end.”
Cole said that in a private conversation between Martin and her doctor after the appointment, the doctor said she would document Ayotte’s threat in writing for court, but did not take any further immediate action.
Less than 48 hours later, Ayotte drove to Martin’s home under the guise of returning the kids and shot and killed her with a .32 caliber Winchester rifle before turning the gun on himself.
“The lessons we learned in the failure to protect, respond and report are obvious,” Cole said. “It is our hope that her legacy of helping others will be continued. It can help save a life if we just take threats more seriously.”
Cole said action can help people get orders of protection and support while in court.
Jamie’s mother, Diane, said family and friends who are not legally responsible for reporting cases of potential domestic violence should also be vigilant to speak up and take action when necessary.
“I feel like [Ayotte’s] friends and family knew what he was doing to her,” Diane said.
She remembered Jamie’s love of family, her generosity and her busy life, always going somewhere and doing something with her favorite people.
“Jamie was very bubbly, a big smiley person, not a mean bone in her body. Kindness was her best asset and her worst enemy,” Diane said. “She would do anything for anybody.”
“Five precious children form the center of the Martin family circle,” Cole said. “Jamie’s loss has made that circle substantially tighter, and the Martins’ focus remains on the children who carry on Jamie’s personality, mannerisms and appearance.”
The law may be voted on by the Senate and Assembly during this year’s legislative season. Maroun called on all counties in the state to pass resolutions supporting the bill and said the Franklin County board, which he is the chair of, and the town and village of Tupper Lake would vote on resolutions.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also supported a bill entering the State Senate which would expand the state’s ability to take the guns of people convicted of domestic violence from just felony convictions to include misdemeanor convictions as well.
Jones has previously voted for gun legislation to keep firearms out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence that was voted down in the Senate.
A report released by the Assembly Minority Task Force on Preventing Domestic Violence, with member Assemblyman Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury), makes recommendations including, declaring domestic violence as a statewide public health crisis, providing funding to cover the housing needs of those seeking shelter from their abusers, creating a new law making domestic violence in the presence of a child a much more severe offense and arranging for reimbursement for each person these shelters assist with the aim to maintain a high degree of individualized care and assistance.
Individuals who would be required to report cases of suspected domestic violence under the Jamie Rose Law
Registered physician assistant
Emergency medical technician
Licensed creative arts therapist
Licensed marriage and family therapist
Licensed mental health counselor
Licensed behavior analyst
Certified behavior analyst assistant
Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons
Christian Science practitioner
School official, which includes but is not limited to school teacher, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school nurse, school administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate
Full- or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate
Social services worker
Employee of a publicly funded emergency shelter for families with children
Director of a children’s overnight camp, summer day camp or traveling summer day camp, as such camps are defined in section 1,392 of the public health law
Day care center worker
School-age child care worker
Provider of family or group family day care
Employee or volunteer in a residential care facility for children that is licensed, certified or operated by the Office of Children and Family Services
Any other child care or foster care worker
Mental health professional
Substance abuse counselor
All persons credentialed by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
District attorney or assistant district attorney
Investigator employed in the office of a district attorney
Other law enforcement official