Texas considers death for child molesters

Oct. 10, 2006 at 11:37 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Texas politicians have pushed for the state to join Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma and South Carolina in instituting the death penalty for child molesters.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has proposed a plan that would impose a minimum prison sentence of 25 years for a first conviction and allow the death penalty to be used for repeat offenders, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The plan, if instituted, "will protect the children of Texas, and let people know to get out of our state if this is your sickness," Dewhurst campaign spokesman Enrique Marquez said in the Times' article. "If that's something you want to do, not in our state you won't."

Similar proposals have been raised by politicians in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Minnesota, the Times said.

However, critics of such plans say it could discourage people from reporting crimes committed by family members.

"If you've got a father or brother or uncle molesting a young person, a lot of people aren't going to turn them in if it means they'll be sent to jail or put to death," Michael Mears, director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, told the newspaper.

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