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Committee Approves Mandatory Sentences for Repeat Child Molesters

On March 6, the House Judiciary Committee gave voice vote approval to legislation (H.R. 2146) that would require life sentences without parole for second-time child sex offenders. The bill was approved by the Subcommittee on Crime on August 2 (see The Source, 8/3/01).

Sponsored by Rep. Mark Green (R-WI), the bill would impose a life sentence without parole for defendants convicted of a child sex crime in a federal court if that offender previously had been convicted in a state or federal court of a similar crime. The bill would apply to crimes such as aggravated sexual abuse and transporting minors for sexual purposes and would apply to crimes against anyone 16 or under.

The committee rejected, by voice vote, an amendment by Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) that would have removed from the list of offenses committed on federal property that would trigger a mandatory life sentence an improper sexual act committed against a minor by someone four years older than the victim. Rep. Scott was concerned that a teenage offender, aged 19, could be sentenced to life in prison for touching a 15-year-old victim in an inappropriate manner.

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