DeSantis Signs Slew Of New Laws Cracking Down On Sex Crimes, Protects Kids From Sex Predators

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed several pieces of legislation into law this week aimed at protecting children from sex predators and enhancing penalties for other sexual crimes.

“In Florida, we let kids be kids, and we protect children from those who seek to harm them,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “Today’s anti-grooming legislation punishes those who seek to prey on children and rob them of their innocence. Florida will continue to be the best state in the country to raise a family.”

DeSantis’ office highlighted the five bills signed into law, including:

  • HB 1545, which protects children from grooming activities and other sexual offenses.
  • HB 1131, which establishes a grant program within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create online sting operations to target sexual predators.
  • HB 1235, which creates stricter guidelines for sex offender registration.
  • SB 1224, which strengthens the role of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office and implements new training requirements to ensure law enforcement properly assesses a domestic violence situation.
  • HB 305, which expands the evidence that can be presented to a jury in sex-abuse cases where the victim is a minor and increases penalties on those who take part in sex trafficking of minors.

Regarding the laws that specifically target sexual offenses involving children, HB 1545 bans communication between an adult and a minor where a pattern is established that includes “explicit and detailed verbal descriptions of sexual activity.”

The law increases penalties for this type of child exploitation crime by making the crime a third degree felony.

HB 305 allows “a hearsay statement made by a minor, regardless of age, to be admitted as evidence,” the governor’s office said.

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