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Rep. White to Introduce Bill to Increase Penalties for Sex Offenders

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Submitted by Delia Taylor with Taylor Media 

State Rep. Mack “Bodi” White announced he will author a bill in the 2011 Legislative Session to increase penalties for sex offenders who prey of those persons most vulnerable in society.

The bill will increase the penalty for sexually abusing a physically or mentally infirm victim and persons over the age of 65 from the maximum of 10 years in prison to a minimum of 25 years in prison and a lifetime requirement to be electronically monitored. 

The more severe punishment is currently in affect for persons convicted of sexual battery of a child under the age of 13.  White’s legislation will amend the statutes for sexual battery, second-degree sexual battery, oral sexual battery and molestation of a juvenile to include physically and mentally infirm victims and victims over the age of 65.

White’s bill is part of package of five bills backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana’s law enforcement community to crack down on crime in Louisiana.  The other four bills are aimed at targeting sex offenders using social networking sites, ensuring sex offenders are complying with current law, transferring the Missing and Exploited Children Information Clearinghouse to the State Police, and closing the loophole in the law that has allowed substances such as fake bath salts and synthetic marijuana to be sold legally.

"These bills truly stand up for the weak and innocent. When we eventually pass this legislation into law, it will send a clear message to criminals that if you hurt an infirmed citizen, distribute drugs or you prey on our children, we have the legal tools needed to put you away for a long, long time,” Rep. White said.

Jindal recently announced his support for White’s bill and the other four “crack down” bills last week (March 17) during a press conference in Shreveport. 

“The goal of all five of these bills is to keep our communities a safe place for families to raise their children. We want every kind of criminal to know that Louisiana is the last place they want to break the law or harm a child. Here, our penalties are severe, our justice is swift, and we will never tire of keeping our streets and neighborhoods secure,” Jindal said.

White, R-Central, noted that under the current provisions of Louisiana law, the legislation he is proposing will define physically infirm victims to be paraplegic, quadriplegic or otherwise incapable of preventing the act due to a physical disability.  Mentally infirm victims will be defined to have an IQ of 70 or lower, or what is essentially the cognitive ability of an 11 year old, he said.

“This legislation will elevate the crime of abusing some of the most vulnerable people among us to have the same penalty for those who abuse our children,” White said. 

Other legislative changes included in the governor’s “crack down” package include:

  • Proposed legislation to increase the penalty for sex offenders who fail to get a driver’s license or ID card with “sex offender” labeled on it, or if they are in possession of an altered identification or counterfeit identification.  (Legislation not yet authored)
  • State Rep. Ledricka Thierry has authored a bill to criminalize the accessing or use of social networking websites, such as Face book and MySpace, electronic chat rooms or peer-to-peer networks by certain convicted sex offenders.
  • State Rep. Kay Katz has authored legislation to transfer the Missing and Exploited Children Information Clearinghouse from the Department of Children and Family Services to the Louisiana State Police
  • State Rep. Ricky Templet has authored legislation to make the dangerous substances in synthetic marijuana and bath salts illegal.

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