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Bohacek: Bill to Prevent Sex Offenders from Establishing Residence Near Victim Passes House

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 28, 2018)Senate Bill 12, authored by State Sen. Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores), recently passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 91-0.

SB 12 would make it unlawful for a sex offender to intentionally establish residence within one mile of their victim. This law currently only applies to sex offenders whose victims are minors. SB 12 would extend the protection to all victims regardless of age.

“Right now, sex offenders are able to move into a home or apartment right next to their victim,” Bohacek said. “This is a major problem that needs to be addressed, and I think this bill would help victims feel more secure in their own homes.”

Under this bill, people who are convicted and sentenced for sex offenses would commit a Class A misdemeanor if they knowingly reside within a one-mile radius of the victim without the permission of the sentencing court. The offender would be committing an invasion of privacy, which could result in a jail sentence for up to one year.

Sen. Bohacek added that sex crimes are often as much about the deviant act as it is about power and control over their victim. This bill would help take away that control from the offenders and hopefully bring some peace of mind to the victims.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. In the case of sexual abuse reported to law enforcement, 93 percent of juvenile victims knew the perpetrator. Sexual violence is often prevalent on college campuses as well, with women ages 18-24 being at an elevated risk of sexual violence. RAINN also reported that 55 percent of sexual assault occurs at, or near the victim’s home.

“The home should be a safe place,” Bohacek said. “It should be a place where we can let our guard down, and feel safe without any threats or fears.”

The offenders would also receive a Level 6 felony for a second violation. A Level 6 felony is punishable by a prison term ranging from six to 30 months with an advisory sentence of one year.

SB 12 would also prohibit a sex offender from attending a house of worship located on school property while classes, extracurricular activities or other school activities are being held.

SB 12 now moves back to the Senate.