RICHMOND (WRIC) – A bill
aimed at protecting children from sexual predators dies in the House and
supporters say they want answers.
The bill would have
increased funding for law enforcement officers that investigate sexual
predators and rescue children. It also would have created a program to educate
kids on how to protect themselves, not using any tax dollars but funded by
increased court fees for convicted felons.
It's a measure that gained
the support of both the Alexis Murphy and Morgan Harrington families.
Camille Cooper with
protect, a nonprofit aimed at protecting children from abuse, says she blames
the chairman of the committee where the bill died.
“We can prevent future sexual assaults to the
tune of thousands and we're taking hundreds of predators every year off the
street,” she says. “Delegate Lingamfelter has been opposed to this from the
beginning, I don't know why.”
8News called Del. Lingamfelter,
left a message and sent him an email asking for an explanation. We're still
waiting to hear back. We asked the bill's sponsor why it was killed who said he
believed there were funding concerns.
“I believe the funding
concerns have been addressed in the bill and there shouldn't be any funding
concerns,” says Del. Ben Cline.
The bill would have also
created a “child safety test” as part of physical education to teach
kids how to recognize dangerous situations with sexual predators and how to get
out of those situations, a move Gil Harrington, Morgan's mother, says could
help protect kids from sexual predators.
“Education really needs to
begin earlier, to incorporate in elementary school seems like a brilliant way
to fill a need,” she says.
Meanwhile supporters are
hopeful a Senate version of the bill, expected to pass, will make it to the House
and eventually pass.
Similar bills aimed at
educating kids on identifying sexual predators and reporting them to police
have passed in several states across the country.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of