CYFD secretary backs bills strengthening child abuse laws | KOB 4
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CYFD secretary backs bills strengthening child abuse laws

Kai Porter
January 31, 2018 07:49 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- There are two bills making their way through the Roundhouse that would expand Baby Briana's Law to include all victims under the age of 18, and CYFD says the recent death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia shows why lawmakers should pass those bills.

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Children Youth Families Department Secretary Monique Jacobson supports Senate Bill 96 and House Bill 100. Under the law right now, intentional child abuse resulting in death only carries a life sentence if the victim is younger than 12. Jacobson called that ridiculous.

"Whether a child is 3 or 13, if that child ends up dead as a result of this intentional abuse, we believe that should be a mandatory life sentence," she said.

Under the current law, the three suspect's charged in Valencia's death are only facing a maximum of 18 years in prison. Jacobson said even if they're convicted they'll only have to serve 85 percent of that time.

In a recent committee meeting on one of the bills, Jacobson said an opponent argued expanding Baby Briana's bill to children 12 years and older isn't necessary because they aren't the victims of child abuse. Jacobson said that information is false.

Senate Bill 96 also strengthens several other laws dealing with child abuse. Both bills are currently making their way through committees.

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Kai Porter

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