State Rep. Peter Lucido, of Shelby Township, today spoke during the House Law and Justice Committee in support of his legislation to better protect children by increasing punishment for repeat child abuse convictions.
“We simply must improve our protections of our most vulnerable citizens — our children,” said Lucido, who is vice-chair of the committee. “When we have enhanced penalties for repeat first- and second-degree offenders, but not for third- and fourth-degrees then we’re not doing a good job of safeguarding our children from a pattern of behavior with lifelong implications.”
A third-degree child abuse violation occurs when an individual “knowingly or intentionally” causes a child to be harmed, while a fourth-degree infraction pertains to reckless actions that leads to the physical harm.
House Bill 4486 will stregthen penalties starting with a second conviction, expanding possible prison time up to five years for a third-degree offense and two years for a fourth-degree violation.
Current law allows for two-year and one-year sentences for respective convictions.
“The current state regulations do not provide enough punishment for someone who places kids in harm’s way over and over and over again,” Lucido said. “Five years in prison sends that message a lot better than two years does.”