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Execution added to castration bill

Just in case "chemically castrating" rapists doesn't work, a Senate committee on Tuesday voted to execute them, too.

The Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-2 for the controversial castration bill. It would give judges the power to force second-time rapists to take the drug Depo Provera, which purportedly reduces sexually aggressive behavior.

But anyone convicted of rape a third time would be subject to the death penalty under the bill.

The vote means the bill has passed its first legislative hurdle, but it would still need to pass another committee and the full Senate. The House has not considered such a law.

Charlene Carres of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union said the law could be unconstitutional. "We're not an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth country," she said.

But the committee may have been more swayed by Carol Tutwiler, a nurse from West Palm Beach, who told senators how her daughter has suffered since being raped in 1988.

"She can't work, she does not sleep and she is afraid to date, to this day," Mrs Tutwiler said. "I beg you let's do something so that you don't have to go through what I went through."

Sen. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, said he had been the subject of many "caustic editorials" since he proposed the bill. But he said he was obligated to try to do something to reduce rape, if there was any chance of doing so.

He said the average person convicted of rape is sentenced to just six years in prison and probably gets released early.

"One in eight women in this country has been raped," he said. "I believe it's a national disgrace of epidemic proportions."

Under the bill, rapists would not be literally castrated, but instead would be given regular doses of Depo Provera, which "inhibits sexual drive and sexually dangerous behavior by reducing the production of testosterone," according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

Failure to show up for Depo Provera treatment would be a felony.

Anne Gannon, lobbyist for the National Organization for Women, spoke against the bill. She said she would support it if it were voluntary for the rapists, combined with intensive counseling because those kinds of programs work.

"I don't have a lot of faith in a voluntary program like this," said Sen. Gary Siegel, R-Longwood. "I don't think there'll be a lot of volunteers."