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Several state prosecutors across Maryland are calling for stricter sex crime laws

Kristen Mosbrucker
Inside the Maryland State House near the House Chambers where legislators statewide meet during the legislative session.

A cohort of four state’s attorney’s across Maryland are calling on the Maryland legislature to pass two bills that they say will strengthen laws protecting children from sex crimes.

The top prosecutors in Frederick, Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties support the legislation.

The first bill expands who is considered a “person in a position of authority” by the state to include counselors, coaches and teachers outside of school. If any of those people have sexual contact with a child then there will be mandatory fourth-degree sexual offense or higher.

The second bill protects victims of human trafficking from prosecution as prostitutes if they are found by authorities. Officers will instead refer those minors to the Regional Navigator Program, which uses professionals to connect young people to the services that can help them most.

“We have individuals that are 16-or 17-years-old, who have been groomed and then manipulated into a sexual relationship with an individual who is substantially older than that,” said John McCarthy, Montgomery County’s state’s attorney. “[The] Law [as] proposed wants to expand the categories of individuals who lure individuals into sexual activities, exploiting a position of trust. This includes child care facilities worker, after school program staff, sports coaches, camps, religious organizations, LSAT coaches.”

Both bills have already passed the House of Delegates, but not the Senate.

The bills were proposed in the last legislative session, but did not pass the Senate.

The legislation comes as the state is bracing for a bombshell report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office detailing 80 years of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

That report is expected to be out in the coming days.

Scott is the Health Reporter for WYPR. @smaucionewypr
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