Vitelli bill would increase penalties for indecent exposure

Posted: October 25, 2017 | Senator Vitelli

AUGUSTA — Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, has submitted a proposal to increase the penalty for indecent exposure against children under the age of fourteen.

Under current law, indecent exposure or ‘visual sexual aggression’ against a child under the age of twelve is a Class C felony. It is a Class D misdemeanor if the child is under the age of fourteen. As a deterrence, this proposal would raise the age to fourteen for visual sexual aggression to be a Class C felony, increase penalties for repeat offenders and ensure that the sex registry holds those convicted of repeat offenses for a sufficient time.

“No child should be subjected to such a horrifying and emotionally scarring experience,” said Sen. Vitelli. “We need to send a clear message that sexual aggression — at any time, at any age — is unacceptable. This proposal will allow for tougher punishment for those offenders.“

In a recent incident in Bath, a thirteen year old girl was exposed to visual sexual aggression by a 39 year old man with a history of sex offenses. If the girl had been twelve, the local police could have charged him with a class C felony.

The child’s parent was outraged that this behavior was regarded as a ‘misdemeanor’ and contacted Vitelli to see if something be done to prevent other children from experiencing similar incidents.

The proposal — as with all bill submissions for the second regular session of the Legislature — will go before Legislative Council for approval this Thursday, October 26. The council consists of House and Senate leadership from both parties.