Renz case reveals obstacle with juvenile sex offender records, DeFrancisco drafting legislation

The case of accused murderer and child rapist David Renz may result in a significant change in the way sealed juvenile records of sex offenses are handled.

State Senator John DeFrancisco has responded to a call by Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan for a legislative review of procedures for the unsealing of juvenile records prior to bail hearings for alleged sex offenders.

Senator DeFrancisco says he is in the process of drafting legislation that would allow for Family Court Clerks to provide juvenile records to prosecutors. The State Senator says such a law would only apply to accused sex offenders.

"Very few people believe that sex offenders are somehow rehabilitated, it's something that continues indefinitely," Senator DeFrancisco said. "There should be a separate way to get records quickly when a sex offense is being considered by a court... and there's a possibility of a sex offense in the past in somebody's juvenile records."

On March 20th, CNY Central's Jim Kenyon revealed that Renz had been implicated in the sexual abuse of a minor when he was a teenager and that the alleged victim in that case met recently with the District Attorney's office.

The records of Renz's alleged juvenile offense were sealed in Onondaga County Family Court. Those records were not available to police or prosecutors before Federal Magistrate Andrew Baxter released Renz on home confinement with an electronic monitoring device after his arrest on child pornography charges in January.

On March 14th, Renz is accused of cutting off his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, murdering Lori Bresnahan and raping a 10-year-old girl.

At a news conference announcing a 37 count indictment against Renz on Wednesday, John Duncan told Kenyon, "within the federal system, a defendant is entitled to a bail hearing within 3 days of his arrest, whether you're able to get juvenile records unsealed or not. So that's something the state legislature should contemplate."

District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick added, "there's no reason in the world why the DA's office, State Police, U.S. Attorney should jump through hoops to find out about what somebody did when they were the precious age of 14, 15 or 16."

Senator DeFrancisco says he could draft and propose his legislation before the state legislature adjourns at the end of June.