Pearson bill to protect sexual assault victims passes Senate

Today, the Senate unanimously approved a measure by Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, to close a loophole that could let sex or kidnapping offenders back into a victim’s community without notice. The bill was sparked by the story of victims who were faced with their attacker moving to their neighborhood from out of state without warning.

“Many people who have gone through sexual abuse live in fear,” said Bethany, a survivor of abuse whose attacker moved into her community without notice from authorities. “When you hear that your attacker is around, that fear kicks in.”

Senate Bill 5430 requires the county sheriff to make reasonable effort to notify victims if their attacker moves into the state. In a recent case, an offender moved into the neighborhood of his victims and the sheriff’s office did not have information or notification readily available for the victims.

“These people have already faced harassment and terror,” said Pearson. “We need to acknowledge the victims of these crimes by providing them the protection and information they need to live their lives feeling safe and secure.”

This bill builds on another Pearson measure passed in the Senate earlier this year which would notify victims if their attacker petitions for removal from the sex offender registry.

The bill now proceeds to the House for consideration.