After little Jay-J Bolvin was brutally beaten by his father, the toddler’s relatives took a bit of solace from knowing the attacker would serve up to four years in prison for the crime.
They also appreciated the efforts of lawmakers who passed a law in Jay-J’s honor to create tougher sentences for repeat child abusers.
But now, they say they are outraged after being told by a prosecutor that child abuser Jeremy Bolvin will be released early – as soon as Monday.
“We’re upset that this can happen, and even more upset that no one informed us until Friday,” said Kevin Retzer of Sloan, great uncle of the 4-year-old Jay-J. “My greatest fear is that I’m going to pick up The Buffalo News some morning and read that Jeremy Bolvin has attacked another child because they have put him back on the street.”
Jeremy Bolvin, 27, is a North Tonawanda resident. According to Niagara County prosecutors, he was previously convicted of breaking the arm of a 6--month-old infant in 2007 before he pleaded guilty to assaulting Jay-J in 2011. The attack on Jay-J, now 4 years old, left him with a form of epilepsy, seizures and extreme difficulties with his speech.
Retzer and his wife, Christine, voiced their family’s outrage over the impending release of Bolvin at a Saturday public forum on child abuse at Buffalo’s downtown library.
“It looks like Jeremy Bolvin is getting off easy for good behavior. Jay-J never will,” Retzer said.
One of the sponsors of the public forum, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, also expressed anger and disappointment over the impending release, and said he will ask officials of the state Corrections Department to reconsider.
“This is a reckless individual who is so violent that he attacked his own child with such severity that he fractured 11 of his bones and left him with a severe seizure disorder and developmental delays,” Kennedy said Saturday evening. “Tragically, Jay-J was not his first victim.
“He had earlier abused another one of his sons and broke his arm. He should be kept behind bars to ensure children in this community are protected from this violent predator.”
Retzer said a prosecutor from the Niagara County district attorney’s office sent his family a letter they received on Friday, notifying them that the state had decided to release Bolvin on Monday. When Bolvin was sentenced in August 2011, a judge set the terms at a minimum of 16 months and maximum of four years.
If released on Monday, Bolvin will have served about two years and six months.
Efforts by the Buffalo News to reach Bolvin’s attorney, Daniel Brick, and the state Corrections Department were unsuccessful Saturday night.
The beating of Jay-J led Kennedy to propose – and state lawmakers to pass – “Jay-J’s Law,” which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last July.