TN Prosecutors Push For Tougher Child Sex Crimes Laws

(Memphis) A child in Shelby County has a one in ten chance of being sexually abused, and that’s an improvement from a decade ago.

District attorneys across Tennessee are banding together to push for stronger laws to fight child sex crimes and protect children.

The Tennessee legislative session starts next Tuesday and lawmakers will consider bills that make changes to protect children.

One of the laws will up the minimum time a prisoner has to serve in jail before they’re eligible for parole.

If approved the bill would make someone guilty of child neglect serve 85 percent of their sentence before coming up for parole.

Currently, most rapists only serve 30 percent before the possibility of parole.

“They’re the kids. They’re our most vulnerable and valuable resource,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Weirich said she hopes the state also changes the law to let them try serial child rapists in one trial compounding all of their charges even if some of the crimes happened in other counties.

This would save taxpayers money.

“There’s a cost benefit. There’s a benefit to our already strapped and overworked and understaffed offices. It’s a resource benefit,” said Weirich.

One trial, as opposed to several across the state, would also keep the victims from having to testify over and over again.

State Representative Mark White represents parts of East Memphis and wants to learn more about the options before making a decision, but says something needs to be done.

“We can’t delay. Protection of our children is the number one priority that adults have. Not only in this community but around the state,” said White.

The bills made it through committee last year, was never approved and signed into law.

Advocates hope that changes this year.

Prosecutors are also pushing for other bills that allow them to show pictures of a murder victim alive at the trials, and allow search warrants to be requested and issued electronically.

6 comments

  • Nonya Bidness

    That’s it. Give them the death penalty. You will make the punishment so severe that after the sick-o ra pes your kid that he mur ders them because the penalty for mu rder is less than the ra pe and if there is no witness it’s harder to find the perp.

    How about better parenting and knowing where your child is at and who they are with. While this won’t stop all the crime against kids it will go a long way toward reducing it.

  • Nonya Bidness

    O M G! The filt er on this s ite is work ing over time, it wou ldn’t a llow me to use the wor ds ra pe or mur der!

  • Hard Truths

    I see Amy is running for re-election on the “family values” ticket.

    A bit inappropriate in her case.

    How does she feel about prosecutors fraternizing (in a Biblical sense) with other prosecutors and with judges?

  • Hard Truths

    How does Amy feel about keeping crooked prosecutors on her staff — like Tom Henderson, who pled guilty to the Board of Professional Responsibility for hiding exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys in a murder trial?

    Oh, the defendant is getting a new trial — after 17 years in prison, thanks to Tom Henderson.

    Amy, and her predecessor, good old goofy Bill Gibbons, are a train wreck.

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