Montana Legislature

Feb 16, 2013 5:55 PM by Claire Anderson - MTN News

MT bill would increase penalties for child abusers

HELENA - Members of the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee are throwing their full support behind legislation to increase penalties for child abusers.

Senate Bill 198 is co-sponsored by several Great Falls lawmakers, and would increase the penalties for anyone found guilty of assaulting a child under three years old.

The maximum penalty right now is five years in prison, and this legislation calls for a maximum of 20 years for bodily injury and 40 years for "serious" bodily injury.

The bill has the support of Jessica Bray of Great Falls, whose young daughter Kaelyn was fatally beaten three years ago.

"We have just seen our own children dying at an alarming rate and it's a devastating crime, I know from personal experience the effects of that crime and our community, there are hundreds and hundreds of people right now who are suffering because of these crimes that have happened amongst us and yet nobody is talking about it," Bray said.

The bill is scheduled for a second reading soon.

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