Lawmakers Consider Sexual Predator Bills
"We need to protect our community."
The Horrells testified before a legislative committee about Annett Horrell's experience as a sexual abuse victim.
"I'm not here for my own case," she toldcommittee members. "I'm here for everybody else that could potentially be affected by these sexual predators. I want the prevention of what happened to me. I want to keep that from happening to anyone else."
In an effort to prevent such crimes, the committee considered six bills with the same goal.
"What we're trying to do here is send a message to individuals who might want to victimize our children, that our state is going to have zero tolerance for it," said Republican Rep. Steve Tilley of Perryville. "And, if you choose to do something like that, if you choose to go down that route and act like that, there's going to be a severe penalty."
Recommendations include making it a crime to harbor a sex offender or tamper with a sex offender's electronic-monitoring equipment, and increase the penalty for persistent offenders from 30 years in prison to life in prison without probation or parole.
Annett's father was pleased with the outcome of Tuesday's committee hearing.
"If you find them, make them pay," said Arron Horrell.
The Horrells left the hearing with the strong support of committee members, and with the assurance Missouri won't tolerate sex crimes.
The committee meets again in two weeks to combine the six bills into one to present to the full House.