Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email: [email protected]
(NASHVILLE, TN), April 27, 2010 — Legislation sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today calling for lifetime imprisonment of those convicted of aggravated rape of a child when the victim is 10 years of age or less. The bill was approved today as the Senate Judiciary Committee is working to wind up their business for the 2010 legislative session.
“Aggravated child rape has devastating lifelong effects on children,” said Senator Kelsey. “This bill sends a strong message that these heinous acts against children will not be tolerated in Tennessee.”
Under current law, the charge of aggravated rape of a child applies when the victim is three years of age or less. That crime is punishable by 40 to 60 years imprisonment. Rape of a child between the ages of three and ten is currently punishable by 25 years imprisonment. This legislation applies aggravated rape to cases when victims are ten years of age or less, and requires imprisonment for life.
According to the Department of Correction, there has been an average of 61 admissions for rape of a child in each of the past 10 years. They estimate eight percent of the victims were between the ages of three and ten.
“These are the worst of the worst child sex offenders,” added Kelsey. “Studies show that, by the time a child sexual offender is caught for the first time, they have usually raped other children and that these offenders are rarely if ever rehabilitated. This bill makes sure child offenders never get that the opportunity to commit this crime again.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 3318, is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative John DeBerry (D-Memphis).