Individuals who sexually abuse a child could be prosecuted years after the offense under terms of HB32, which extends the statute of limitations for such crimes. The bill also provides that action against people who fail to report such crimes may occur within four years after the crimes are made known.
The measure was reported out favorably by the House Education Committee Wednesday.People who fail to report incidences of suspected child abuse, child sex abuse, neglect, fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal drug dependency are guilty of Class B misdemeanors. The current statute allows action against such individuals any time within two years of the date from which they could be proved to have had such knowledge.
Several people told the House committee that young victims of sexual abuse may suppress memories of the events and not recall them until they are adults, although their lives may be adversely affected at a subconscious level.
- As strange as it sounds, the law is more lenient with minors caught with marijuana or driving drunk than it is those found in possession of a can of beer.
But that could change. The House voted 70-1 Wednesday to reduce the penalty for possession of alcohol by a minor from a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
"A Class A for alcohol possession makes it the same as for possession of cocaine for distribution, for negligent homicide and assault," said Rep. John Valentine, R-Orem. "That's not right."
"It doesn't make sense for it to be a worse offense to be at a party with an open can of beer than it is to drive drunk," agreed House Assistant Majority Whip Christine Fox.
Currently, possession of marijuana and drunken driving are both Class B misdemeanors.