Child rapists should be sentenced to death. That’s why I backed this Tennessee Senate bill

Acquire DigitalNews

On April 9, Senate Bill 1834 passed 24-5 on the Senate floor allowing the death penalty in child rape convictions.

In an effort to challenge the 2008 Supreme Court ruling, I sponsored this legislation with my friend, and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman, Ken Yager, R-Kingston, and wholeheartedly believe that Tennessee got it right.

By permitting this severe punishment, we are sending a clear message that we will never tolerate the exploitation and abuse of children.

On June 25, 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the ban on cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S. Constitution excludes the death penalty for child rape.

This case, Kennedy v. Louisiana, involved a man who was sentenced to death after raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter. The high court claimed that the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for cases that do not take a victim’s life.

Was the life of a rapist more valuable than the life of an innocent child who will be permanently scarred forever? In Tennessee, the answer is no.

Child rapists are monsters and not mythical

Child rape is the most disgraceful, indefensible act one can commit, leaving lasting emotional and psychological wounds on its victims. As a legislator, and more importantly, as a human being, our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable comes first.

Let me be clear – this legislation does not require a judge to sentence an offender to death. However, in cases where the evidence is clear, this is an appropriate punishment for such egregious crimes.

Critics of this legislation argue that the death penalty is an unjustifiable punishment and ineffective. However, in cases where a rapist is preying on the vulnerability of a child and inflicting permanent harm on them, a severe form of justice is the consequence they must face.

Last year, Franklin soccer coach, Camilo Hurtado Campos, was indicted on dozens of charges, including 14 counts of rape against boys ranging from the ages of 9 to 17.

Authorities say the victims were drugged and raped while unconscious. These unthinkable crimes were committed right here in my hometown.

The monsters who commit crimes aren’t mythical; unfortunately, they are closer than we think. These crimes are a heartbreaking reminder that atrocities such as these happen in our communities. Our duty is to protect these children from predators and ensure their safety and well-being is put above the life of their rapist.

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