O'Reilly: Mass. and Vt. will be among few states left where child abusers "can go and molest children and get sympathy"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

While discussing states' sentencing laws for people convicted of sex crimes against children, Bill O'Reilly declared: "Soon, there will only be a few states where" sex offenders "can go and molest children and get sympathy, states like Massachusetts and Vermont."

While discussing several states' recent passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws for people convicted of sex crimes against children, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly declared: "Soon, there will only be a few states where" sex offenders "can go and molest children and get sympathy, states like Massachusetts and Vermont." O'Reilly made these comments during the April 21 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor.

As The Burlington Free Press reported on April 13, the Vermont Senate "unanimously gave preliminary approval Wednesday [April 12] to a bill designed to crack down on sex offenses" by "increasing the number of investigators who focus on sex crimes, increasing the number of pre-sentence investigations that judges use to help determine a sentence, trying to better coordinate prevention programs ... decriminalizing consensual sex between teenagers"; creating a "a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for aggravated sexual assault"; "expand[ing] the sex offender registry to list more offenders on the Internet and add[ing] a registry for violent offenders."

The Vermont House of Representatives previously had passed legislation that "approved a mandatory life maximum and set advisory minimum sentences, but declined to affix a mandatory minimum out of concerns they would make it more difficult to prosecute sex crimes." As the Free Press noted on April 5, "[M]any prosecutors and victims' advocates" oppose mandatory sentencing laws "out of concern that the mandate would force more defendants to take their cases to trial, forcing more victims to testify and creating the possibility of more acquittals because sex crimes can be difficult to prove." Vermont's House and Senate are currently resolving the differences between the bills.

While several legislators in Massachusetts, including state Rep. Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera (D), have proposed or supported bills requiring mandatory sentences for sex offenses committed against children under 14, that state has not passed such legislation.

From the April 21 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: And now the people may put the issue on the ballot, going around the pinhead politicians. That's what the folks in the great state of California did, and Jessica's Law is expected to pass there in a referendum next November. What is happening all across America is a tremendous victory for the folks and for democracy. Even the liberal Oregonian newspaper heard the people and supported Jessica's Law. We applaud the paper for doing so. So, things are looking up for the good guys and are looking black for the bad guys, especially the predators. Soon, there will only be a few states where they can go and molest children and get sympathy, states like Massachusetts and Vermont.

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