CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County Delegate wants to see the Legislature go after sex offenders to the fullest extent of the law.

“In this state there are real, live monsters. They are monsters and they are predators.”

Democrat Mark Hunt introduced two bills this session that would take a tougher stance on pedophiles who approach children and try to harm them.

“Right now, if a monster approaches a child for sex, and that child, in some way refuses, that child is able to get away from that monster, the only thing that we can charge that person under our law is solicitation,” stressed Hunt.

That is a misdemeanor with a $50 fine. Hunt said the West Virginia Crimes Against Children Task Force knows how dangerous these criminals can be so they hand over their cases to the feds.

“Every time this offense happens,in West Virginia, this task force has to take this crime and this monster through the federal system,” explained Hunt.

That’s because the federal penalty for soliciting a child is a felony, with prison time. Hunt believes West Virginia’s law needs to be changed to make solicitation, of a child, a felony so that cases can go through the state court system.

He stressed to his fellow House members that, when it comes to children, the state must be able to protect them.

“Aren’t our children worth this? Aren’t our children worth providing a felony offense for people that would take them, rape them and kill them?”

Hunt tried last year to get similar legislation moving through the House but it was left languishing. He said this session the Legislature must move on it.

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  • 2XLPatriot

    If one intends to harm a child, there is only one solution. Tall tree, short rope. That will cure this "Disease." I would bet most of these offenders would take control of their "Urges" when they see other monsters swinging at the end of a rope!

  • flossrancher

    People, please read an article before commenting. This bill has nothing at all to do with the sex-offender registry. It makes solicitation of a minor a felony, instead of a misdemeanor. The sex-offender registry is a separate topic. It is not mentioned in this article. When an article appears about that, then it would be appropriate for you to post comments on it. Jeez!

    • Shelly Stow

      Yes, you are correct, and I am very guilty as charged.

  • Shelly Stow

    The statistics are not mine. They are from FBI figures and supported by many independent studies, both state follow-up studies and university studies. If you really believe that former offenders re-offend on a large scale, please do a little simplified research yourself. It won't take long.

  • Shelly Stow

    "Who cares if we're making life harder for registrants? Should we be trying to make their lives easier?" You won't like this answer, but if you actually care about public safety, the answer is yes. I just finished reading an article that says it as well as it could be said: "...a 2011 study in the Journal of Law and Economics by J.J. Prescott of the University of Michigan and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia University, finds that Megan's Law [which created the public registgry] actually increases the possibility that sex offenders will offend again. The researchers explain that when sex offenders are publicly identified, they're convinced they have no chance of getting back gainful employment, decent housing and normal social relations."

    And they are right. I know this exceeds the reach of this specific article, but the comments have gone in that direction. Please note--this is not saying they should not receive appropriate punishment for the offense; they should. But then, if we really believe what we say, that rehabilitation should follow punishment, we must structure laws and policies so that rehabilitation can flourish. Why would anyone not want that? We certainly don't want to encourage the opposite, do we?

  • William


  • BIM Job

    It blows my mind that solicitation of a minor is only a misdemeanor in the state of wv. How could that be? Unbelievable this could have ever been the case. This should cause public outcry. CHANGE IT NOW!!!

  • Victim

    My life was changed forever as a victim of a "monster" as described by Mr. Hunt. Please legislators, pass this bill. Help those that can't help themselves.

    • Shelly Stow

      Victim, I am 99% sure that the person who molested you was not someone who was on the sex offender registry. That is the case in over 99% of the cases. Therefore, your favoring legislation that will make restrictions even harsher for registrants will not help any victims; it will only satisfy your personal need for revenge and leave present and future victims ignored.

      If your life was changed forever--take your life back. You are still giving your abuser power over you. Either Elizabeth Smart or Jaycee Dugard is credited with saying that anyone can become a victim, but remaining one is a choice. And even Lauren Book, who has made a career out of her molestation, said of her abuser, "She may have tarnished my childhood, but she cannot hurt my adulthood."

      • Tim D.

        Shelly you made a couple of good points. Yeah, we all get knocked around and we must move on. But to preach to someone who has been through such an ordeal...well, it seems a bit soulless to me.

        • Shelly Stow

          And you make a good point also, and I apologize; never was it my intent to preach or sound judgmental. I have close family members who were victims; I understand the issue from the victims' side all too well, and it make me overly zealous perhaps when I see the millions squandered on the public registry system and the harm it does and the good it fails to do.

          • Jason412


            Who cares if we're making life harder for registrants? Should we be trying to make their lives easier? Also, how does this have anything to do with making restrictions tougher on registrants.

            How does this not help future victims? If a predator fails to abduct a child and is subsuquently charged with a felony and incarcerated, instead of the current misdemeanor and fine, that predator will not have the chance to run out the next day and successfully abduct a child.

            I also find your "99%" number to be absurd as that would imply that a large number of sex offenders do not re-offend which is untrue.

            What harm does the registry do to the public or victims?

            Your posts read as if you're defending child molestors.