Violent Child Sex Offender Bill Passes in Maryland

By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson

Electric rates weren’t the only topic that was taken up June 14 during the convening of a Special Session of the Maryland General Assembly. Several other bills were introduced including a bill requested by the governor (House Bill 7 and Senate Bill 2) commonly referred to as “Jessica’s Law” which I was proud to co-sponsor.

This bill will go after the most despicable members of our society - violent child sex offenders—and will require mandatory jail sentences for these monsters.

The legislation that passed by a wide, bi-partisan majority, requires that when the victim of a sexual offense is under age 13, a mandatory minimum, nonsuspendable 25-year sentence is handed out for a person at least 18 years old who is convicted of first degree rape or first degree sexual offense.

There is no reason - none - why a violent predator who commits heinous crimes against our most vulnerable citizens, our children, should not be mandated to be sent to jail for a very long time. The fact that we are requiring judges to hand down mandatory minimum 25 year sentences for the animals who commit these horrible crimes makes Maryland’s statute one of the strongest in the country.

In addition to the 25-year mandatory minimum sentencing requirement, the bill does much more to ensure the safety of our children.

The Registered Sexual Offenders - Supervision, Notifications and Penalties legislation mandates the following, according to the Senate floor report:

- Requires each category of sexual offender to register in person every three months and provide an updated photograph at least once a year.

- Requires the sentence for a defendant who would be required to register as a sexual offender for life to include a term of extended sexual offender parole supervision.

- Requires a sex offender registrant to send written notice of a change of employment, change of address or legal change of name to the Central Sex Offender registry within the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services.

- It makes various changes to current community notification provisions. These include requiring that notice be given to the change of address of a child sexual offender, requiring that notice be given to private and public schools and specifically authorizing local law enforcement agencies to provide notice to child care and recreation facilities, faith institutions and other organizations that serve children and other individuals vulnerable to child sexual offenders.

- Requires information about registration statements to include a plain language description of the offender’s crime excluding detail that would identify the victim.

- Requires the Department of Public Safety to allow the public to electronically transmit information about sexual offenders.

- Requires the Department of Public Safety to allow members of the public to request e-mail notification of the release from incarceration of a registered offender and the registration information of the offender.

- Creates a new crime of prohibiting a sexual offender registrant from entering the property of a school or day car center.

I think it is great that we were able to work together with the governor on this legislation that protects our children. What is truly amazing is that when we all work together we were able to pass this bill in a matter of hours.


House Bill 7

Senate Bill 2

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