Saturday, February 07, 2009

Judiciary Committee approves Goodman bill increasing sentences for violent sexual predators of children

In his latest capitol report, Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, among those most often mentioned as a possible successor for Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, if Blunt runs for Kit Bond's U. S. Senate seat, explained his bill to strengthen penalties for violent sexual predators of children:

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am vice-chair, passed my Senate Bill 36, which allows criminals convicted of violently raping or sodomizing children 11 years of age or younger to be sentenced to prison with no possibility ofprobation or parole—ever. Currently, those convicted of such unthinkable crimes are eligible for parole or conditional release after serving 30 years of their sentence.

To forcibly rape a child is one of the most morally reprehensible crimes imaginable. A
person who commits this crime vilely dehumanizes his innocent young victim, causing
irreparable damage. These criminals should receive the most serious punishment we
can administer for destroying the innocence of a child.

Child rapists, by the virtue of the crime they commit, show they give little regard for the consequences. Because they count on never being caught, this brand of criminal
rarely thinks about the imminent punishment. They prove this to be true by preying on
unsuspecting and vulnerable victims. A true life sentence will prevent such offenders
from victimizing more of Missouri’s young children.

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee also heard my Senate Bill 223, which
regulates sexually oriented businesses. I anticipate a favorable committee vote in the
near future.

We are fortunate to live in our nation’s heartland, where we embrace and live by a set
of solid, core family values. Over the past few years, I have been disturbed by the
opening of smut shops along the major highways of our area. Often, unsavory
activities between customers occur in these establishments.

Citizens groups and volunteers have spent considerable time monitoring the license
plates in the parking lots of these establishments. Their observations indicate that the vast majority of the customers are travelers from out of state.

Federal case law does not permit legislation to prohibit smut shops. Case law does,
however, permit legislation to restrict the dangerous secondary effects of these
establishments, such as increased crime, moral decay and diminished property
values. Undeniably, the hard-core pornography industry attracts a dangerous element
to our communities. Sexual predators are nearly always consumers of hard-core
pornography. Legislation exists at various levels of government restricting the time,
place and manner of sale of other products that can have dangerous secondary
effects on communities. Certainly, it is appropriate to restrict the time, place and
manner of the operation of an industry that appeals to the most dangerous of potential
criminals and draws them into our communities. We must protect our children and all
Missourians from the secondary dangers of such places.

Senate Bill 223 places strict restrictions on sexually oriented businesses operating in Missouri. Missouri is, and always has been, a great place to live, work and raise a
family. To protect our way of life, we must be proactive in minimizing threats to our

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