Updated By: Florida Senate January 13, 2014, 6:45pm
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 494, which aims to eliminate the current 3-year statutory time limitation for prosecuting certain lewd, adult-on-minor offenses. Upon its passage, bill sponsor Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Ft. Myers) released the following statement:
“We are working to ensure Florida’s families feel safe and secure in their communities,” said Leader Benacquisto. “The predators who target our children do not deserve the benefit of running out a clock to avoid prosecution, and we are fighting so the protections are in favor of our children. Under SB 494, fewer criminals will slip through the cracks and have the opportunity to reoffend.”
For more information on SB 494, please visit http://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/0494 .
Updated By: Matt Horn January 13, 2014, 6pm
A bi-partisan bill was introduced after children in the state were killed by sexual predators that slipped through the system. State Senator Rob Bradley says this bill is personal for state lawmakers.
”It’s the worst nightmare for any parent to imagine something like this happening to one of their children. And when it happens to any Florida child, I think I speak for fellow Florida Senators and say we look at it as we do as parents.”
There’s a new push tonight to toughen Florida laws against sexual predators.
Donald James Smith was accused of killing 8 year old Cherish Periwinkle in Jacksonville in June.
It came just three weeks after Smith was released from prison.
In August, a report by the South Florida Sun Sentinel found nearly 600 sexual predators committed sex crimes after prison release.
The crimes included more than 460 child molestations, 121 rapes and 14 murders.
“But now we have to make sure that in our laws, in our administrative procedures that we tighten up considerably,” said Florida Senate President Don Gaetz. “I want Florida to be the worst place in America for a sexually violent predator,” he said.
Several bills filed for the 2014 session would lengthen prison sentences for some crimes.
They would also require more aggressive supervision of offenders after release.
Bob Rumbley of the faith based “Care Tallahassee” says his group has helped rehabilitate hundreds of sex offenders.
He says only a couple of them have re-offended.
Rumbley says longer prison sentences aren’t necessarily the answer.
But he does support stronger supervision after prison.