(Host) Republican leaders in both the Vermont House and the Senate say that passage of legislation that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated sexual assault remains as one of their top priorities for this session.
Legislation creating a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for this crime is scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor later today.
Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Senate Republican Whip Kevin Mullin said he strongly supports this bill.
(Mullint) “We also have to have punishment as part of that sentence because that sends a message to the victims and their families that society is looking out for them and taking care of them and to just release somebody on the streets is just wrong.”
(Host) Last month, the House rejected the mandatory minimum approach in its crime bill. Instead the House increased penalties for many sex crimes and expanded special investigative teams.
The Senate bill also includes many of the tougher sentences adopted by the House.
House Minority leader Peg Flory says it’s critical to include mandatory minimum sentences in any final compromise bill.
(Flory) “A child that has been a victim of sexual abuse has a right to have a time to heal in the community without worrying about the fact that her victimizer is out on the street. And I think that’s really important to a lot of the victims and the parents of the victims.”
(Host) If the mandatory minimum bill passes the Senate, a House – Senate conference committee will try to negotiate a compromise plan in the coming weeks.