State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 405, legislation to increase the safety of Ohio children by strengthening penalties against sexual predators.
“This legislation will help protect Ohio’s most valuable asset – our children,” said Smith, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Internet predators in Ohio need to know there will be consequences for their despicable actions. This legislation will put predators behind bars and help keep our kids safe.”
Under HB 405, an individual convicted of a first-time offense of importuning a minor would be sentenced to a minimum six-month prison term. Currently, the penalty varies based on the specific importuning prohibition violated.
“Increased technological advancements have opened up new doors to child predators,” said Smith. “This legislation will increase safety for our children and help to keep predators off the streets and offline.”
Rep. Smith is a former member of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The Ohio ICAC and its 342 affiliate partners perform a variety of tasks, including conducting internet sting operations to catch would-be child predators.
HB 405 now goes to the Senate for further consideration.