ANNAPOLIS, Md. (7News) — "I know sexual abuse, especially in children, is a topic people don't want to talk about. It is heartbreaking and painful," said Annie Kenny in an online video.
In 2019, Kenny started her effort to change Maryland law and protect more children from registered child sex offenders. She asked people to sign a change.org petition which requested lawmakers in Maryland to lengthen the time the state could put restrictions on child predators.
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A family member of Kenny's was a past victim of child abuse. Fast forward to today, and Gov. Wes Moore signed Senate Bill 57 into law in Maryland.
"I was really shocked it took so long to get this passed. It felt like such common sense to protect children from people we already knew are dangerous. I am just so happy and relieved it's finally happening," added Kenny.
It creates better protection for children 16 and under by placing stronger post-convictions on child predators. Previously, the age limit was only 12 years old for victims.
"Now for anyone under the age of 16, the offender would be subject to lifetime supervision which means there is somebody monitoring them and mandate therapy and drug testing... whatever they deem necessary, and it's now a crime of violence so they are no longer eligible for early release after only serving a quarter of their sentence," said Kenny.
Maryland State Senator Jack Bailey introduced Senate Bill 57.
“It has been my honor to lead the effort in the General Assembly to strengthen Maryland’s lifetime supervision law and crime of violence statute. This legislation ensures that children between the ages of 12 and 15 receive the same protections under state law from felony sexual assault as are given to younger children. I am extremely proud that this legislation finally passed during this year’s session and am incredibly grateful for the many people who have worked with me over the past five years to secure these important reforms that will protect Maryland’s children," said Sen. Bailey.
Read Senate Bill 57 here: