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Relating to the prosecution of the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or disabled individual; creating a criminal offense.
Expanding the circumstances for which a criminal penalty is applied is expected to result in additional demands on the correctional resources of the State. The probable fiscal impact of implementing the bill is indeterminate due to a lack of data that would allow those cases in which the victim of the sexual abuse was a disabled individual to be isolated from all other sexual abuse cases. These data are necessary to determine the number of individuals who would be eligible for prosecution under the proposed continuous sexual abuse of a child or disabled individual offense and the full extent of the fiscal implications of the bill's provisions.
HB 375 would include disabled individuals in the offense of continuous sexual abuse, making it a first-degree felony to commit more than one act of sexual abuse against disabled individuals in a period of more than 30 days.
HB 375 was amended on the floor of the House to make a minor drafting change. This amendment does not affect our vote recommendation.
Texas Action supports HB 375 because it would advance personal responsibility. If the continuous sexual abuse of a child is a separate criminal offense, disabled individuals ought to also be included. Perpetrators who repeatedly abuse vulnerable individuals such as the disabled ought to face appropriate criminal punishment for their acts. Proportional punishment is also consistent with our limited government principle.