Start Omhoog

Senate OKs bill creating national list of predators

Kellman, Laurie, Associated Press, July 21, 2006

Legislation designed to help police find more than 100,000 sex
offenders; House to consider it next week, Bush likely to sign

 Convicted child molesters would be listed on a national
Internet database and would face a felony charge for failing to
update their whereabouts under a bill the Senate approved Thursday.

The bill was designed to help police find more than 100,000 such sex offenders by creating the first national online listing available to the public and searchable by ZIP code. It also called for harsh
federal punishment for sexually assaulting children, including the
possibility of the death penalty when a victim is murdered.

The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote. The House is to
consider it next week, and President Bush is expected to sign the
bill into law.

"Sex offenders have run rampant in this country and now Congress and the people are ready to respond with legislation that will curtail the ability of sex offenders to operate freely," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., who authored the legislation with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

"We track library books better than we track sex offenders. This evens the score," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., a sponsor in the House.

Debate was tearful from the start as the Senate considered the bill named for Adam Walsh, the murdered son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh. 

He watched from the gallery as senators thanked him for years of lobbying for the bill. July 27 is the 25th anniversary of the abduction of Adam, 6, and his subsequent murder.

"This has to be bittersweet for him," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., choking up as he made a rare reference to his infant daughter Amy, killed in a 1972 car crash.

Child advocates have called the bill the most sweeping sex offender legislation to target pedophiles in years. It would:

Establish a comprehensive federal DNA database of material
collected from convicted molesters, and procedures for the routine DNA collection and comparison to the database when someone has been convicted of such an offense.
Provide federal funding for states to track pedophiles using
global positioning devices.
Allow victims of child abuse to sue their molesters.
Impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years for raping a child.
Impose a mandatory 10-year penalty for sex trafficking offenses
involving children and for coercing child prostitution.
Increase minimum sentences for molesters who travel between states.

Start Omhoog