McDonnell Signs Legislation Targeting Sex Offenders
Governor Bob McDonnell used the backdrop of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail to ceremonially sign several pieces of legislation targeting sex offenders, especially those who prey on children.
The governor says the six bills he signed Friday will help prevent the most violent of sex crimes, especially those against children.
"If you've got a problem, go get counseling and go get treatment because if you're caught and convicted it's one strike and you're out and you're going to go to jail for life because we have to protect the most vulnerable citizens in society," said McDonnell.
That's the message Friday from a ceremonial bill signing by Governor McDonnell. He signed into law what he says is the biggest change to the child rape laws in more than a decade.
McDonnell said, "This is a very good package of bills that makes it unequivocal in Virginia that we will absolutely not tolerate crimes against our most vulnerable citizens - our children."
Two of the bills, inspired by the Penn State scandal, require coaches, as well as employees of all state colleges and universities to report rape. Another two create stricter regulations for possession, sale or exhibition of child pornography. The main bill requires a minimum life sentence for any adult that rapes a child in the state.
"We have no evidence that we can reform them, there's no evidence we can make them better, this means they will be in prison the rest of their lives, they can't re-offend," said Delegate Rob Bell.
Bell says of 228 cases of rape against children in Virginia in the last two years, only 10 people got life in prison. Now they all will.
"The message is to the next guy, if we catch you, if you do this, we will lock you up and we're hopeful that the next guy won't do this, that's the goal," said Bell.
Before the laws went into effect on July 1, the median sentence for sex offenders was 13 years.
McDonnell Signs Legislation Targeting Sex OffendersMore>>