O'Reilly on Vermont: "[V]isit at your discretion" because state doesn't "protect the kids" from child molesters
Bill O'Reilly suggested that his listeners "visit [Vermont] at your discretion," because it is a "hopeless, hopeless state" that refuses to "protect the kids" from child molesters. O'Reilly stated that Vermont "is gonna lead the league" among the "six to 10 states" that won't "pass any laws to protect the kids." In fact, the Vermont Senate recently passed legislation requiring a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of aggravated sexual assault.
Ignoring the Vermont Senate's recent passage of mandatory sentencing of convicted sex offenders, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly  suggested that his listeners "visit [Vermont] at your discretion," because it is a "hopeless, hopeless state" that refuses to "protect the kids" from child molesters. O'Reilly stated that Vermont "is gonna lead the league" among the "six to 10 states" that won't "pass any laws to protect the kids." As Media Matters for America has previously noted , the Vermont Senate recently passed legislation requiring a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of aggravated sexual assault and is working with the state House of Representatives to reconcile different versions of the sex-offender legislation. O'Reilly's comments came during the April 27 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show.
The Burlington Free Press reported  on April 13 that 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," according to the April 13 Free Press article. The Free Press reported  on April 5 that "many 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."
From the April 27 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: You couple that with the press -- you couple that with the press, and you got a real big problem protecting the kids. Now, the good news is we're getting Jessica's Law  passed all over the place. Oregon, you know, Oregon. Way to go out there. And you know our affiliate out there, KXL, had everything to do with this. And [radio host] Lars Larson and the guys on that affiliate, you guys ought to be really proud of yourself. Even the Oregonian newspaper, the left-wing Oregonian newspaper got behind Jessica's Law at the end. And, finally, we forced, because -- I say "we" because I'm in in spirit -- these pinheads in Salem, Oregon, to do it, and they did it.
Virginia is the latest state. So we got 25 states, we got half the states now in Jessica's Law corner. Maine, they're gonna take it away from the legislature, they're gonna go around and put it on a ballot. Way to go, Maine. OK. Vermont, hopeless, hopeless state. All right. There are gonna be, at the end of the day, here, probably about six to 10 states that don't pass any laws to protect the kids. And, and those states you visit at your discretion, but I won't -- you know, Vermont is gonna lead the league, unfortunately.