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Legislation increased child sexual assault-abuse-exploitation moves to the Kentucky House

Third from left-Nicholasville Representative and Bill Sponsor Matt Lockett- Ky Attorney General Office reps on either side
Stu Johnson
Third from left-Nicholasville Representative and Bill Sponsor Matt Lockett- Ky Attorney General Office reps on either side

The Kentucky House this week could vote on legislation to toughen penalties for a variety of sex crimes involving children. The bill sponsor says it’s about protecting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable.

Among other things, the bill increases penalties for the distribution of child pornography, human trafficking of minors, and for those in authority like teachers or pastors involved in such cases. Nicholasville GOP Representative Matt Lockett is the bill sponsor.

“To have a zero tolerance for child sexual assault, child sexual abuse, child pornography, or human trafficking,” said Lockett.

Lockett said the measure also removes the statute of limitations for adult reporting of childhood sexual assault or abuse. The central Kentucky lawmaker said months of working with advocates and representatives from other agencies were spent creating the bill.

There was committee discussion about language pertaining to the use of cell phones or computers for sending sexual images of minors. Louisville Representative Jason Nemes raised a concern about that section as it relates to sexting.

“So 15-year-olds are being dumb. They should be held accountable. But, a B felony and they can never work for the school system in their life. I mean prosecutorial discretion is a part of it. No doubt about that,” said Nemes.

Lockett said the provision in current law pertains to intentional widespread distribution. More than one committee member asked about clarifying that section on the House floor.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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