Congress to visit child sex abuse law

Published 2:02 pm Monday, January 30, 2023


The U.S. Congress will be considering whether to pass a bill that would allow a bit more legal clarification for those tried on child sex abuse crimes. U.S. Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) have introduced the Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act.

The 2017 case involving Larry Nassar, a sexual predator and former doctor for American Olympic gymnasts, was never federally charged for his illicit sexual contact with minors while crossing state and international lines. If passed, this bill would add clarifying language to the U.S. Code that could have provided federal authorities a way to prosecute Nassar with confidence if it had existed at the time of his trial. The bill is aimed at improving future protections for children from sexual predators.

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“These disgusting sexual predators who prey on kids don’t deserve to be walking around in our society,” said Burchett. “They deserve to get the book thrown at them. This bill will help get more of these perverts off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”

If passed, the Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act would clarify that crossing state or international boundaries with the “intent to engage” in illicit sexual conduct constitutes a sex tourism offense. The bill would also prohibit the use of an affiliation with international charities to further illicit sexual conduct. And, it would clarify that the definition of “sexual activity” doesn’t require physical contact.

This bipartisan bill is the House companion to legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA).