CHILD SAFETY: State Predator Bill ‘A Small Step’

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Governor Branstad signed a bill Thursday designed to keep sexual predators off the streets.

The bill is in response to the abduction and murder of Dayton teenager Kathlynn Shepard last June.

This bill allows for juvenile sex offenders still deemed to be a threat to the community to be held in civil containment units after they turn eighteen instead of automatically being released.

It also gives the Department of Human Services sixty days to plan treatment for a person being released from civil containment.

The mothers of both kidnapped Dayton teenagers say it’s a step in the right direction but agree more needs to be done to keep children safe.

kathlynn“I think any sex offender having to go through these steps is a good thing for children and can help anybody who has been sexually assaulted,” Kathlynn’s mom Denise Shepard said.

Adding, “It’s a small step.”

Lawmakers are still working on the next step towards keeping children safe from sex offenders. A bill has been passed by the Senate and amended by the House that would upgrade the kidnapping of a minor from a class C to a class B felony.

A class B felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison as opposed to 10 years for a class C.

The big hang-up relates to reduced prison time for good behavior. The House argues people in prison for preying on children shouldn’t be offered early release as an incentive to behave in jail.

“We want to make sure in Iowa that if you’re preying upon children that you serve a full sentence and you have a long sentence to serve,” Rep. Chip Baltimore said.

Some lawmakers argue that without the incentive of good behavior, offenders will act out in jail becoming a threat to guards and other inmates.

The bill is back in the hands of the Senate.


  • Dana

    This is a minor step…but a step in the right direction none the less. I hope and pray there will be more laws to come that go even further in the fight against sex offenders. We need to do everything in our power to keep our children safe.

  • Kristy

    Felony this, Felony that…you can get felonies for shoplifting, paraphanelia, and many other small-time crimes. Part of the problem is the sentences, such as ” UP TO 25 yrs ” ” UP TO 17 yrs ” Up to opens the door on the cell, basically, whenever. These people are dangerous for children; however, the threat to adults, and dependent children/adults, is just as strong. Seriously. Make it habit to read the sex-offender registry. All ages, all races, all ethnicities are victims, and offenders both. Study the sentences…15 yrs and they’re out in 4, 8 yrs, out in 2, for all types of offences. It is a horrible epidemic, and rallying, and educating ourselves, and making it clear to lawmakers, ” We ain’t gonna take it no more “


    Sexual preditors should have the same sentence that murders…they should NEVER get our of prison. They cannot be rehabilated. It is not just me saying it, just look at the criminals and each time they get out, the crime is worse and worse.

  • Heart breaking

    There should be no ‘time off for good behavior’ for sexual predators. If that makes them harder to handle in jail because they have no incentive to ‘behave’, punish them for misbehavior. Put them in solitary, take away privaleges, lengthen their sentence.

    Personally, for true predators, I believe the death sentence should be mandatory and carried out within 6 months. I am not talking about the 18 year old boy who had a relationship with a 17 year old girl. I am also not talking about the drunk gentleman who urinated outside the bar one night. I’m sorry, but, these people should not be considered sex offenders. They are people who make judgment errors.

    I am talking about rapists and abusers.

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