Senate approves child abuse, predator bill
By Joanne Kenen Thu Jul 20, 7:32 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote bipartisan legislation to crack down on sexual predators and child abuse.
The bill would expand registers of offenders and toughen penalties for people who prey on children through crimes such as sex trafficking, abuse and pornography.
The House of Representatives is expected to give the measure final congressional approval next week so President George W. Bush can sign it into law.
"Sex offenders have run rampant in this country," said Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, a lead sponsor of the bill, adding Congress and the public were ready for a crackdown.
"This is about closing the door," said Delaware Democrat Joseph Biden, explaining that closing loopholes would stop "lowlifes from slipping through the cracks."
The bill was named for Adam Walsh, the little boy who was abducted and murdered 25 years ago next week. His father, John Walsh, became an anti-crime advocate and later the host of the popular television show, "America's Most Wanted."
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are more than 560,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. About 100,000 are not registered or do not have up-to-date registrations.
The bill would establish a national sex offender registry, plugging holes and communication gaps in the existing state-by-state system. The register would be available to the public and easily searchable. An offender who does not register would face felony charges.
It would also create a registry for substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect to help law enforcement and child protective services. Arizona Republican Jon Kyl pushed for that provision.
Addressing growing concern about Internet predators and online pornography, the bill establishes grants to educate parents and youth, and expands by 200 the number of federal prosecutors working on such crimes.
This should prove to be of help for the many children who were abused by the people who are hiding within the wtbts. It might also lend some weight to the attorney's who may go after the society when they try to hide such ones from law enforcement and the legal system.
I feel that the numbers may even be higher with the mention of the number of cases noted by and kept within the walls of Brooklyn.