Should sex abuse bill have age gap? -- Gazette.Net


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Two groups of Maryland legislators want to close a statutory loophole regarding which adults can and should be punished for engaging in sexual conduct with a student.

One bill in the House would apply to adults who work with children in either a school system or a county recreation program. A second bill in the Senate adds volunteers at schools and employees and volunteers at private recreation facilities.

Lawmakers in both chambers point to the 2012 case of a Montgomery County middle school teacher as a reason to change the law.

The Senate bill also includes a seven-year age gap — it would prohibit sexual contact between a person of authority and a minor who is at least seven years younger.

Some do not support the inclusion of the age gap to varying degrees. The Maryland Association of Boards of Education and the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, which each support both bills, view the age gap as a necessary compromise to pass legislation. The Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, however, has voiced strong opposition to the Senate bill’s passage as is.

What do you think? Are either of these bills the right solution? Should the Senate bill include an age gap?