Grandstanding and pontificating are standard fare in the Arizona Legislature. Multiple hot topics — mask mandates, voter suppression, abortion, the border, child abuse, and others — have sparked lengthy debates.
This video is a follow-up to the one I made after my “no” vote on Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s mandatory sentencing bill for multiple levels of child abuse, HB2889, and the subsequent social media splash.
If we really want to help child sexual abuse victims, we should bring back Senator Paul Boyer’s bill from 2019 which lengthens the time period to report past abuse. Arizona is not soft on sentencing pedophiles, but it is soft on reporting child sexual abuse. Boyer educated us by telling us that Arizona had the most lenient laws in the country￼ for pedophiles. He said Arizona law “protected predators, not victims.” Adults who had been abused in the past had only 2 years after age 18 to report abuse as a child and identify abusers. Boyer’s original raised the age limit for past complaints from 20 to 30 and added a 1-2 year window for older people to report past abusers. After a long battle, a watered down version of Boyer’s bill passed in 2019. Let’s lengthen that window and go after the long-term pedophiles who are lurking in our churches, schools, youth organizations, sports teams and work. Former victims deserve their day in court.
If we really want to protect victims, we should address Adverse Childhood Experiences (for which we are worst in the nation) and break the cycle of abuse. Many child abusers were abused children themselves. In addition, Arizona also should implement medically accurate sex education in school, thus giving the words and knowledge to tell others what may be happening to them.
For the record, Arizona already has stringent mandatory sentencing for multiple levels of child abuse and sex trafficking. This bill just piles on with the highest level of sentence been mandatory life in prison for anybody over 18 with no chance of parole, no rehabilitation, and no time off for time served or good behavior. We’re throwing lives away and ignore the root causes. Locking people up is not the answer. We must also look at prevention and control.