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Light sentence for Bolvin shows need to do more to punish child abusers

What child-abuser Jeremy Bolvin did was monstrous. Now he’s out of jail after serving less than three years, but thanks to his revolting crime there is a better chance the next guy who beats a baby may not get out so soon.

But even that’s not guaranteed.

The 27-year-old North Tonawanda man was twice convicted of brutally beating his babies. In 2007, Bolvin was convicted of third-degree assault for beating and breaking the arm of his 6-month-old son.

It got worse. In 2011, Bolvin was convicted of assault and attempted assault for beating his infant son Jay J., causing 11 fractures and brain damage.

Bolvin was released from state prison Monday after serving about two years and six months for that attack. Officials of the state Corrections Department told a News reporter that Bolvin’s release, after serving two-thirds of his maximum four-year prison term, was dictated by law and was routine for prisoners who are credited with good behavior.

Bolvin will be on parole and under the supervision of a parole officer until Aug. 21, 2015, according to a state corrections spokeswoman.

Bolvin’s victim, however, received a lifetime sentence of developmental difficulties. The little boy has been diagnosed with a serious seizure disorder called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and wears a helmet for protection.

Last July, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed “Jay J.’s Law,” proposed by State Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, which strengthened sentencing provisions for repeat child abusers. Before that law, a sentencing judge could consider previous convictions going back just three years. Now, a defendant’s previous child abuse convictions going back 10 years can be considered by the judge.

Because of Jay J.’s Law, it will be easier for prosecutors to bring more serious charges against child abusers.

Bolvin served his time and is now a free man. Jay J. will be paying the price of abuse for the rest of his life.

More should be done. Kennedy says he may push for legislation to require child abusers like Bolvin to serve their entire maximum prison terms. However, rather than tie the hands of judges, if longer prison terms are needed he should work to change the penalties for abuse convictions.