Bill would keep convicted murderers who sexually assault children in prison

Paula's Lae
Rosemarie D'Alessandro, mother of murder victim Joan D'Alessandro: "endure terrible pain"

STONY POINT – Paula Bohovesky of Pearl River was 16 years old when she was murdered in 1980 by two men in her hometown as she was walking home from her job at a library.

She was hit over the head by Robert McCain and sexually assaulted. Richard LaBarbera attempted to sexually assault her when she stirred and he stabbed her repeatedly. McCain was a career criminal at the time while LaBarbera was out on parole for drug offenses.

Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, but were eligible for parole in 2005. LaBarbera was released on parole this month, but was arrested after violating a condition of his parole.

Joan D’Alessandro was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered by her neighbor when she was seven.

Joan’s Law on the books now denies parole to anyone who murders a child under the age of 14. She was seven when she was murdered and sexually assaulted in 1973 by a neighbor, Joseph McGowan, who dumped her remains at Harriman State Park in Stony Point. She was out selling Girl Scout cookies when she was abducted.

McGowan was a chemistry teacher at Tappan Zee High School at the time. He pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison and was eligible for parole in 1987 and 1994.

Legislation from Senator David Carlucci (D, Nanuet) would raise the age to 18.

Joan’s mother, Rosemarie D’Alessandro, said denying parole to anyone convicted of murdering and sexually assaulting a child up to age 18 would mean “more families and communities will not have to endure terrible pain caused by the parole process.”

The bill has the support of Senator James Skoufis (D, Woodbury), Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D, New City) and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D, Suffern).