Criminal Justice

Child Molesters Face Tougher Penalties If They Pass On STD

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February 4, 2015 —

INDIANAPOLIS – The Senate Corrections & Criminal Law Committee passed a bill to the full Senate Tuesday morning that would increase the penalty for child molestation when a sexually transmitted disease is involved.

Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, brought Senate Bill 363 before the committee. It was amended by consent and passed unanimously.

The bill enhances the penalty of child molestation from a Level 3 to a Level 2 felony when the child contracts a sexually transmitted disease, which makes a perpetrator eligible for 10 to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The diseases defined in the bill include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia or hepatitis.

This law is known as “Cameron’s Law,” which has meaning to Broden and his constituents.

Broden said that a constituent from his district named Shelley O’Konski came to him about a case where a 5-year-old boy was molested and contracted herpes from the molestation.

O’Konski is the grandmother of the boy, identified as Cameron.

She said that her grandson has to “serve a lifetime sentence” dealing with the sexually transmitted disease but his attacker only had to serve three years.

The man that molested Cameron will get out of prison in August.

O’Konski said she is aware that the bill won’t help Cameron, but it can help other children in Indiana in the future.

Michael Dvorak, a lobbyist for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council, supported the bill on behalf of his organization.

Broden said he is optimistic about what this bill and others like it can do for protecting children from child molestation in the future.

“Today’s hearing is a strong first step toward providing more protection for victims of child molestation,” said Broden. “It’s our hope that this proposal can work to stop the kind of unimaginable pain victims like Cameron suffer.”


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