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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBERRY DRAFTS LEGISLATION TO TIGHTEN RAPE LAWS

BERRY DRAFTS LEGISLATION TO TIGHTEN RAPE LAWS

Sen. Lorraine Berry has drafted a bill that puts teeth into laws governing aggravated rape of children that she has long thought weren't strong enough. She said she is outraged by certain legalities that permit rapists to skirt the law, or receive minimum sentences.
Her bill would eliminate the stipulation that a rape victim under 16-years-old must live in the same house as the perpetrator, a stipulation that Berry termed as " silly."
Berry's bill creates a new law which would add the crime of aggravated rape in the second degree involving sexual abuse of a minor between the ages of 10 and 16, and provide stiffer penalties for aggravated rape of children up to 11 years. The bill lowers the age at which a perpetrator may be convicted.
The current period of incarceration for a first offense would be increased from 10 to 20 years. The minimum penalty for a second conviction for first degree aggravated rape would increase from 20 to 25 years.
Berry said she had spoken to representatives in the attorney general's office about the matter of plea bargaining, which she thinks should be eliminated in sexual assault cases. She said that the officials said that "if plea bargaining were banned, there wouldn't be enough jails to hold the perpetrators."
The current "weak" penalties for sexual assault have long been a concern of the senator, and she is especially upset at the rise in sexual crimes against children in the territory. "The crime has reached epidemic proportions," Berry said. Her observation is based on talks with representatives from both medical and social work fields.
The bill is now circulating in the Legislature, for consideration by other senators.

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Sen. Lorraine Berry has drafted a bill that puts teeth into laws governing aggravated rape of children that she has long thought weren't strong enough. She said she is outraged by certain legalities that permit rapists to skirt the law, or receive minimum sentences.
Her bill would eliminate the stipulation that a rape victim under 16-years-old must live in the same house as the perpetrator, a stipulation that Berry termed as " silly."
Berry's bill creates a new law which would add the crime of aggravated rape in the second degree involving sexual abuse of a minor between the ages of 10 and 16, and provide stiffer penalties for aggravated rape of children up to 11 years. The bill lowers the age at which a perpetrator may be convicted.
The current period of incarceration for a first offense would be increased from 10 to 20 years. The minimum penalty for a second conviction for first degree aggravated rape would increase from 20 to 25 years.
Berry said she had spoken to representatives in the attorney general's office about the matter of plea bargaining, which she thinks should be eliminated in sexual assault cases. She said that the officials said that "if plea bargaining were banned, there wouldn't be enough jails to hold the perpetrators."
The current "weak" penalties for sexual assault have long been a concern of the senator, and she is especially upset at the rise in sexual crimes against children in the territory. "The crime has reached epidemic proportions," Berry said. Her observation is based on talks with representatives from both medical and social work fields.
The bill is now circulating in the Legislature, for consideration by other senators.