TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) - Several new laws aimed at cracking down on sex offenders is set to be implemented Wednesday.
The new laws include toughening sentences and strengthening registration as well as reporting requirements for offenders. One law boosts minimum mandatory sentences for dangerous sexual felony offenders from 25 to 50 years. Another law increases felony penalties for people who live off the proceeds of others through prostitution or when crimes involve the trafficking of children. The measure also removes a statute of limitations for human trafficking violations, prohibits minors from working in adult theaters and requires those theaters to verify the ages of all employees. Another law increases penalties for teachers and other school authority figures who take advantage of students sexually. Jennifer Dritt of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence says schools should always be safe for students.
Executive Director Jennifer Dritt, with The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence says, "People in positions of authority in school settings have a lot of power, significantly more power than students do, so students often feel that there will be repercussions for them if they don't comply with requests for physical contact."
Every year close to 50 Florida teachers lose their licenses due to sexual misconduct with students. Dritt says, recent high-profile sexual assault and domestic violence cases show how serious the topic is, making it difficult for lawmakers to avoid dealing with the issues.
The new laws were passed during the 2014 legislative session with nearly unanimous support.