Missouri governor bans sex offenders by kids' museums

Missouri governor bans sex offenders by kids' museums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS/AP) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill on Thursday, June 22 to ban people convicted of sex offenses against children from coming within 500 feet of children's museums.

The legislation included HB 572, sponsored by Rep. Kathryn Swan (R-Cape Girardeau) that prohibits sex offenders from being present or loitering within 500 feet of a children's museum.

Swan filed the bill due to an incident that happened at the Discovery Playhouse in Cape Girardeau.

Since facilities like the Playhouse were not included in state statute on registered sex offenders, law enforcement lacked the authority to remove such individuals.

Senate Bill 160, sponsored by Sen. David Sater, also brought accountability to the state's foster care system and protected children from traffickers.

Cassville Republican Sen. David Sater said Wednesday he was meeting with Greitens to sign the bill on Thursday in Jefferson City.

The legislation made sex trafficking of minors a form of child abuse under state law. It would require that children be told and informed in writing of their rights when taken into custody by police or juvenile officers, and that foster kids be told their rights.

Another provision allowed the Social Services Department to keep reports of child abuse where the perpetrator is unknown. The agency now must destroy records if investigations don't turn up sufficient evidence of abuse.

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Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.