Rally held in Albany for passage of domestic violence bill Melanie’s Law

The bill in the young woman’s name requires judges grant restraining orders for adult children of domestic abuse victims.

Blaise Gomez

Feb 28, 2024, 10:30 PM

Updated 46 days ago

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A Dutchess County woman whose daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend was in Albany today urging lawmakers to pass a domestic violence law in the victim’s name.
“Melanie died because of who she was - my daughter,” says the victim’s mother, Cheryl Chianese.
Chianese wanted to protect her daughter from the man who would eventually kill her, Paul Senecal. She says she went to Dutchess County Court to request a restraining order.
“I was told she would have to apply for her own because she was over 18. So, she did and she was denied,” Cheryl Chianese says.
Melanie Chianese, 29, was killed by Senecal, her mom’s ex-boyfriend, in a stabbing on their doorstep in Wappingers Falls in 2022. The tragedy unfolded after a pattern of abuse, stalking and harassment that Cheryl Chianese herself was issued a restraining order for.
“Hopefully, with Melanie’s law, no one else will have to worry.”
The victim’s mother was among dozens of people in Albany on Wednesday who called on lawmakers to pass the bill in the young woman’s name to require judges grant restraining orders for adult children of domestic abuse victims.
“It would close a very dangerous loophole,” the victim’s mother says.
Cheryl Chianese says the bill passed the Senate last year and is being reviewed in the Assembly. She hopes it will pass in both houses this year and be signed into law.
Melanie Chianese was going to Dutchess County Community College for human services in hope of becoming a drug and alcohol abuse counselor when she was killed.
“Her dream was to help people,” the woman’s mother says. “I believe that she’s going to help people after her life tragically ended.”
Melanie Chianese left behind a now 5-year-old boy who her mother is now raising.
Her killer is serving a life sentence for the murder, and Cheryl Chianese has filed a lawsuit against Dutchess County.
For more on the legislation, click here and here.


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