State Sen. MacDonald, Saratoga County DA Murphy tackle child abuse issues

PETER'S NEW YORK, May 27, 2009--Last November Roy MacDonald sacrificed his New York State assembly seat in a gamble to win the State senate seat formerly occupied by Republican kingpin Joseph Bruno. He won this gamble handily, even though one of then-U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand's minions fought against him. Now comfortably ensconced in his new position, MacDonald said he tries to make the rounds of his new district whenever he gets a chance. Last week he put in an appearance in his own backyard, Saratoga Springs, stopping at the Center for the Family, which provides services for children who are victims or alleged victims of abuse.

Jim MUrphy and Roy MacDonald
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Peter Duveen Photo
Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy, left, and State Senator Roy MacDonald discuss child abuse issues at the Center for the Family
 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

At the center, he addressed about 20 social service organization officials, where the main topic was what nonprofits should do in lean times to economize and keep funding streams open for crucial programs. As to the topic of child abuse, MacDonald said: "I don't have the answers; I just want to be part of the solution."

"It's very comforting to know that we have people in your position who are there for us," noted Loretta Somerville, director of the Child Advocacy Center.

With MacDonald was Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy. A slender man with a disarming smile and friendly demeanor that one doesn't normally associate with law enforcement, Murphy told the group he would help out where he could. "If you find a special pressing problem, call me," he said.

Murphy was later asked by Peter's New York some pointed questions about whether innocent people were sometimes inadvertently prosecuted for child abuse. He replied that the conviction rate for child abuse offenders was about 95 percent. Each case, he said, is carefully scrutinized by a number of county and state agencies, which meet together to review the evidence. "We are all looking at this with a skeptical eye," he said. "If we're going to take somebody's liberty away, we need to be one hundred percent sure."