Committee rejects bill to protect children

State News

February 27, 2019 - 10:58 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee rejected a proposed law that sought to prevent judges from reducing sentences if they believe that victims under the age of 14 were willing participants in sex crimes.

The bill was proposed by Attorney General Derek Schmidt after a county judge in December gave a 67-year-old man a shorter sentence than prosecutors sought for soliciting a 13-year-old girl on Facebook. Leavenworth County District Judge Michael Gibbens was publicly criticized after he said young girls were “more aggressor than a participant” during sexual encounters with the man.

After the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard details of the case Monday, committee members said the legislation was well-intentioned but they argued judges must have discretion in sentencing for such cases. A voice vote to table the bill appeared to be unanimous, The Wichita Eagle reported.

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