Sex Offender Bill Proposed
By: CJ Cassidy
Perryville, MO - A Heartland lawmaker wants to crack down on convicted sex offenders in Missouri.
State Representative Steven Tilley of Perryville is pushing a law modeled after Jessica's Law in Florida.
Right now, first time sex offenders face a minimum of 5 to 10 years in prison.
The proposal would increase that punishment to a minimum 25 years.
There would also be harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
Tilley hopes the law would help put offenders away for a longer time, but surprisingly enough prosecutors say it would do just the opposite, and create a loophole for offenders to slip through.
A parent of one victim says that's certainly not something we can afford to let happen.
"We went to Walmart, and he was with her for an hour and a half and in that hour and a half he touched her inappropriately in certain areas," Lyn Stockton says as she recalls the pain and anguish she suffered, after Adam Brethold molested her five-year-old daughter three years ago.
"He was sentenced to 20 years. He does have to serve 85% of this sentence which would put him in prison for 18 years, because we wanted her to be an adult before he got out," Stockton says.
Under the bill proposed by Tilley, any offender would have to serve at least 25 years behind bars.
"If you have individuals committing statutory sodomy and statutory rape against little kids our state should have very little tolerance for those individuals," Tilley says.
Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle says each offense should be considered on a case by case basis.
Swingle says juries may feel compelled to let an offender walk if the penalty was too high, especially where there are gray areas.
So how would you feel if you were on a jury? Many folks we spoke with agree with Swingle, saying they don't think changing the law would be a good idea.
In the meantime, Stockton says she'll do whatever it takes to keep the man who robbed her child's innocence behind bars.
"We don't know what will happen in the parole meetings, but my husband and I will be at everyone, to make sure he stays there," she says.