FRANKFORT, KY (4/20/12) – Representative Mike Nemes, R-Louisville (38th District) announced today that a bill he sponsored during the 2012 Legislation Session is now law. House Bill 519 expands the definition of an abused child under Kentucky law to include one that is sexually abused, exploited or subjected to prostitution by a person of authority or special trust.
“One of our primary duties as lawmakers is to protect Kentucky’s children who wish to do them harm, or place them in a position of harm for their own benefit,” said Rep. Nemes. “I’m pleased we were able to pass this legislation, and I thank all of those who worked hard to bring House Bill 519 to fruition. It is ironic this bill is becoming law just as we mark Child Abuse Prevention Month in Kentucky, which is designed to alert Kentuckians about children who are being abused and exploited in many cases by those they trust.”
“Every day Kentucky's rape crisis centers work with children who have been sexually abused by those who should protect them,” said Eileen Recktenwald, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, which is the network of Kentucky's 13 regional rape crisis centers. “We've made it a top priority to improve laws that could help protect our kids, and we are delighted that legislators also made it a priority this session."
“HB 519, which passed quietly in the final moments of the regular session, will have a tremendous impact for Kentucky’s child victims,” said Meghan Wright, State Coordinator for the Kentucky Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers. “It addresses several issues that come up regularly in the cases we work on, and we are very thankful to see its passage.”
HB 519 amends Kentucky Revised Statue 600.020 to expand the definition of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation to include acts committed by persons in a position of authority or special trust, and amend the definition of an abused child to include persons in a position of authority or special trust and persons over 21 years of age who commit an act of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or an act of prostitution against a child less than 16 years of age; amend KRS 510.060 and 510.090 to change the age of the victims of those offenses from less than 16 to less than 18 when the offense is committed by a person in a position of authority or special trust.
In addition, HB 519 includes language from a bill sponsored by Rep. Linda Belcher that adds to the definition of incest to include uncles, aunts and relationship of step-grandparents and step-grandchildren. Rep. Nemes applauded Rep. Belcher for working with him on HB 519, and added the language to the bill.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by House Representatives Julie Raque Adams of Louisville; Linda Belcher of Shepherdsville; Leslie Combs of Pikeville; David Floyd of Bardstown; Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello; Jeff Greer of Brandenburg; Joni Jenkins of Louisville; Martha Jane King of Lewisburg; Charlie Miller of Louisville; Darryl Owens of Louisville; Sal Santoro of Florence; and Addia Wuchner also of Florence, was signed by Governor Steve Beshear on April 18th and will officially become law on July 12th.
Information provided by Michael Goins
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