Des Moines Register
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Gains made to keep kids safer from sex offenders
Part of making our state an ever-better place to live, work and raise a family is keeping it safe for everyone. Thanks to smarter, tougher and safer reforms approved by the Legislature, Iowa children are better protected against sexual predators - online and in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.
With the support of law enforcement officers across Iowa, we passed comprehensive sex offender legislation in 2009. Police officers and sheriff's report that the new law has made Iowa a safer place for children. This year, we continued listening to the advice of law enforcement and further toughened our state's sex offender legislation.
In particular, we made sure that sex offenders convicted in other states and countries are subject to Iowa's residency restrictions and exclusion zones, regardless of whether they just moved to Iowa or are passing through. That means any sex offender who has harmed a child cannot work at or loiter near Iowa schools, playgrounds or places intended primarily for children. We also closed a loophole in Iowa law so it's easier for law enforcement to catch and prosecute online sexual predators before they harm children. It's now a class C felony to attempt or to entice someone believed to be under the age of 13 with the intent to commit sexual abuse or exploitation. For someone believed to be under 16, it is now a class D felony.