Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Committee Votes to Strengthen Sex Offender Laws

A greater number of registered sex offenders would be banned from living near schools or playgrounds under legislation approved by a House committee this week.
            House Bill 2437, by state Rep. Josh Cockroft, would impose the ban on rapists living near schools, child care centers, playgrounds or parks to include anyone convicted of molesting a child younger than 18. 
Current state law imposes the ban only if the victim was under the age of 13.
            “A pedophile who rapes a 14- or 15-year-old youth is just a dangerous as one who targets younger children,” said Cockroft, R-Tecumseh. “Sadly, the abuse often begins at an early age and last for years. We should not allow a technicality to give pedophiles access to schools or playgrounds where they can victimize other children.”
            The legislation was requested by members of the Pottawatomie County Sheriffs Department.
            If the legislation is approved, it would be illegal for any registered sex offender who victimized children to live within 500 feet of any elementary, junior high or high school, permitted or licensed child care center, playground, or park.
            House Bill 2437 has passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and now goes to the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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