Because of the "gravity" of the issue, members of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice voted Thursday to postpone any changes in child abuse sentencing laws.
The commission had considered proposals to alter current minimum-mandatory laws giving judges and members of the prison's board of pardons discretion to place non-incest abusers on probation or reduce sentences to under five years. The exception would have applied only to a few abusers who met rigid requirements. Offenders would have to acknowledge their guilt and show receptivity to treatment.But opponents to proposed changes insisted that national studies indicate adults with a sexual appetite for children cannot be changed.
While some members expressed concern over discrepancies in how the sentencing laws are applied in Utah, the commission voted to study the controversial issue further. Changes in the law, therefore, will not be considered by this year's Legislature.