A House committee has advanced legislation that would boost prison time for those convicted of kidnapping a child under the age of 15.
“Everyone understands that when someone kidnaps a child, it’s a serious matter,” says Representative Chip Baltimore, a Republican from Boone who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “And the events of this past summer certainly show that.”
Kathlynn Shephard of Dayton was kidnapped and killed in 2013 by a felon who’d been released early from prison after being convicted of kidnapping a child in 1992. The bill would eliminate any time off for good behavior in prison and require felons convicted of seriously harming children under the age of 15 to spend their entire sentence behind bars.
“Unfortunately it’s too late for Kathlynn, but I think that this is a step that is in the right direction,” Balitmore says.
The bill not only applies in instances when a felon is convicted of kidnapping, but for other serious felony charges like human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously and is now eligible for debate in the full House. Senators are considering similar legislation.