MANTI — Miley White is a child abuse survivor.
When she was 7 months old, Miley was severely injured after being violently shaken by her father, Gary Hansen.
Doctors told her family in October 2013 she only had a 20 percent chance of survival. But Miley, now 3, pulled through, though she's legally blind and has physical and cognitive disabilities.
After Hansen’s arrest, he pleaded no contest to child abuse, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in eight years.
Miley's story of abuse grabbed the attention on one Utah lawmaker, who is drafting legislation to set up a registry for convicted child abusers.
“We're calling this ‘Miley’s Bill’ to honor her,” said Rep. Derrin Owens, R-Fountain Green. “Much like the sex offender registry, this registry will require that those who are convicted of felony child abuse would then have to sign up on the child abuse registry."
The registry would allow parents to know who they are allowing around their children, whether it is a friend's parent or a baby sitter. Owens said the bill "will help parents protect their children.”
Miley's grandmother, Joann Otten, has been fighting for changes in the legal system for convicted child abusers since 2013.
“The public has a right to know,” she said.
Otten has been working with the Child Justice Center in Sanpete County and other organizations across Utah, and says Miley’s Bill is a huge step in the right direction to protect children.1 comment on this story
“This can’t happen again,” she said, referring to her granddaughter's case.
If the bill is passed during the 2017 legislative session, Utah would become the second state to have a public registry listing convicted child abusers. The Indiana Legislature unanimously passed a similar bill into law earlier this year.
Contributing: Tracie Snowder