A series of new federal sex offender bills have passed the house and are making their way to the senate.
Here are some:
The House passed the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act (House Resolution 1188), to reauthorize certain programs established by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act; passed the Targeting Child Predators Act (HR883), to provide a certification process for issuing nondisclosure requirements accompanying certain administrative subpoenas; passed the Child Protection Improvements Act (HR695), to establish a national criminal history background check system and criminal history review program for certain individuals who, related to their employment, have access to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities; and passed the Targeted Rewards for the Global Eradication of Human Trafficking Act (HR1625), to include severe forms of human trafficking in the definition of transnational organized crime for the purposes of the U.S. State Department’s rewards program.
The House passed the Global Child Protection Act (HR1862), sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala. The bill would expand the scope of U.S. criminal law by defining unlawful sexual contact with a child in a foreign country as a federal sex offense against a minor. Roby said repairing a technical flaw in the law would make it easier “to put serial child abusers away where they belong.” An opponent, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., criticized the bill for imposing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for breaking the sex-offender law.
The House passed the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act (HR1842), sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas. The bill would add violent crimes that violate state law to the list of crimes that prompt enhanced penalties when sex offenders fail to register or report certain information as required by federal law. Ratcliffe said it closed existing loopholes in order to “make sure that all dangerous sex offenders are treated the same and are subject to the same enhanced penalties.” An opponent, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich. criticized what he called the bill’s unfair and counterproductive expansion of mandatory minimum sentences for criminals.
The House passed the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act (HR1761), sponsored by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La. The bill would make it a federal crime to knowingly consent to the creation or transmission of child pornography. Johnson said the designation was needed to close a loophole in current federal law that he said “essentially allows a child rapist to admit to sexually abusing a child and yet still evade punishment.” An opponent, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., criticized the bill for expanding the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences, which Scott said could leave teenagers who engage in consensual sexual conduct facing 15-year prison sentences.
The House passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act (HR1973), sponsored by Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind. The bill would require national athletic governing bodies, such as USA Gymnastics and USA Swimming, to report cases of sexual abuse to law-enforcement authorities. Brooks cited a recent report of hundreds of suspected cases of sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics programs in calling the bill “an important step forward toward protecting” young athletes across the country.