Sex slaying sparks Vermont pol battle

July 15, 2008 at 10:42 AM
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BENNINGTON, Vt., July 15 (UPI) -- The sex slaying of a 12-year-old girl has set off a political battle in Vermont, where the lieutenant governor has called for harsh new laws, observers say.

Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie says the killing of Brooke Bennett, 12, of Braintree, Vt., shows the need for laws calling for a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for child sex offenders, as well as physical or chemical castration, The Bennington (Vt.) Banner reported Tuesday.

Dubie, a Republican who is locked in an election battle with Democratic challenger Nate Freeman, called for a special session of the state Legislature to enact the new laws, saying, "We have a responsibility to address that issue. Civil confinement does it. Other states do it. The chemical castration does it. Other states have done it. You can either submit to life in jail or chemical castration."

But Freeman accused Dubie and Republican Gov. Jim Douglas of exploiting the case for political gain, the Banner reported.

"Both Brian Dubie and Jim Douglas are preying on Vermonters' natural emotional impulse for vengeance," he said.

The girl's uncle, who has a sex offense record, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping in connection with the case.

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