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Richard Piatt ReportingAt least two Utah Legislators are getting serious about the problem of sexual predators. One lawmaker is even calling for an automatic death penalty for child molesters who kill.
It may sound extreme: An automatic sentence of death for a sexual predator who both sexually targets and physically harms kids. But that's how frustrated a lot of people are about this problem, including Representative Dave Ure, from Kamas.
Rep. Dave Ure, (R) Kamas: "If you come to Utah and mess with our kids, you either stay here in a box or you'll leave here in a box."
Ure says it is the wide use of the internet and easy access to pornography that's aggravating this problem. But there are constitutional questions about this idea: One is the notion of an 'automatic' death penalty sentence for any offense. It is unlikely the Legislature will pass such a measure, although just talking about it may send a strong message, Ure says.
More likely to pass is another idea from another legislator. It calls for a life sentence; no parole, for repeat sexual predators, and a risk assessment for first time offenders.
Rep. Paul Ray, (R) Clearfield: "If you're a predator, we're going to go after you with guns blazing. If your a 18-year old who had a relationship with a 16-year old, that's not who we're targeting. We're targeting people who are targeting children."
According to Representative Paul Ray, this bill also would send a strong message, but is more realistic. Ray---like so many people---are sick of hearing cases like that of a convicted sex offender who is accused of re-offending after getting out of prison.
Ronald Howard is accused of molesting again, and of not registering his location with the state. That's just one case, there are many more and the problem seems to be growing. It's obvious that the Legislature wants to address the issue, somehow.