Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida senators file four bills targeting sexually violent predators

TALLAHASSEE — Outraged by cases involving repeat sexually violent predators, four Florida senators filed bills Tuesday to signal an aggressive approach to protecting the state's children.

"Together these bills will make Florida scorched earth for those who seek to harm our children," Senate President Don Gaetz said in a statement, calling the legislation a "centerpiece" of a joint House and Senate agenda.

Filing four bills on one day shows the Senate is taking a "coordinated bipartisan and comprehensive approach," said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, who filed the legislation along with Sens. Greg Evers, R-Baker, Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, and Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.

The bills tackle issues including length of sentences and better evaluations, changes that impact both the criminal justice system and Florida's Sexually Violent Predator Program, which falls under the Department of Children & Families.

Bradley called the issue "very personal and very raw. We lost two precious children in our communities over the past three years" due to sexually violent predators.

Cherish Perrywinkle, 8, was abducted in June from a Jacksonville Walmart, raped and murdered.

Her accused killer, Donald Smith, was a registered sex offender, had been evaluated twice and let go. Under the proposed legislation, he would not have been released in light of his previous crimes.

Somer Thompson, a Jacksonville 7-year-old, was abducted walking home from her school in 2009.

Her body was found in a Georgia landfill and in February 2012, Jarred Harrell, 26, was sentenced to six life sentences without parole for abduction, rape and murder.

Bradley's proposal (SB 526) requires the court to order community supervision after release from prison for certain sexual offenses and increases the length of sentences for certain adult-on-minor offenses.

The legislation "empowers probation offices to watch more sex offenders and to watch them for a longer period of time" he said.

The proposals come after hearings with victims and child advocates, law enforcement, medical professionals and other experts in the House and Senate stemming from a series in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida senators file four bills targeting sexually violent predators 12/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It's fake

    National

    The framed copy of Time magazine was hung up in at least four of President Trump's golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

    A framed copy of Time magazine, dated March 1, 2009, that hangs in at least four of President Donald Trump's golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland, is fake. There was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time. The real March 2, 2009, issue of Time featured actor Kate Winslet on the cover. But the issue makes no mention of Trump. [Left, Time; right, Angel Valentin for the Washington Post]
  2. Editorial: The human cost of slashing Medicaid

    Editorials

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had no choice Tuesday but to postpone voting this week on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that is just as devastating as the version passed by the House. The Congressional Budget Office's estimate that Senate bill would eliminate health care coverage for 22 million …

    Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press
  3. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick

    Blogs

    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.
  4. Editorial: Scott's poor choice for CFO

    Editorials

    Gov. Rick Scott didn't reach too deeply into Florida's talent pool in appointing his friend Jimmy Patronis to fill a vacancy as the state's new chief financial officer. This is an exceptionally weak choice for a Cabinet post that requires a sophisticated understanding of banking and other financial services, and it …