Battin’s ‘CIRCLE OF TRUST’ Bill to Close Preferential Treatment for Incestuous Molesters Passes Senate Appropriations Committee

SB 33 closes loophole exploited by dangerous predators

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Jim Battin’s (R – La Quinta) “Circle of Trust” bill aimed at providing equal protection to children who are victims of rape by their own parent or guardian successfully passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 12-0 vote. Battin’s legislation would close the loophole in current law that allows those who commit child rape against members of their households to receive therapy and probation rather than a prison sentence. Battin’s bill now makes its way to the Senate Floor.

“This is a major victory for proponents of child safety in this state,” said Battin. “I know we still have a lot to do in seeing this through to enactment but getting this important piece of legislation through the Senate Appropriations Committee was a major hurdle. I am so thankful to the members on that committee who helped push it through,” added Battin.

Battin’s “Circle of Trust bill” would reform California’s 23-year old policy of decriminalizing sexual abuse within the family. “Those who have committed the ultimate betrayal of trust will soon be held accountable for such unthinkable crimes. It is high time we gave priority to the abused and not the abuser,” said Battin.

Since 1981, the California Penal Code has differentiated between sexual predators who molest children that are not related to them and those who victimize family members. If a person is convicted of sexually abusing a child under the age of fourteen, and the victim is not a member of their family, the offender is subject to a sentence of 3 to 16 years in prison.

However, if the perpetrator and the victim are related, their step children or even if they live in their home, the offender is eligible to receive probation while they attend therapy and they may be permitted to remain in the home. Furthermore, once the offender completes their mandated therapy, the conviction against them is removed from their record. Battin has time and again vowed that he would not stop fighting until this practice is ended. His “Circle of Trust” bill may very well be the vehicle that does end this horrible injustice to those children being victimized by the very ones that should be protecting them.

Senator Battin’s legislation has been called “landmark reform” by child advocates throughout the nation and numerous groups have expressed their extreme gratitude for the recent approval in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Battin’s bill is sponsored by the National Association to Protect Children (or PROTECT) and endorsed by numerous victims rights groups and law enforcement organizations, including the California District Attorneys Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, and the California Correctional Supervisors Organization.