SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— Emotional testimony took over an Assembly committee on public safety hearing in Sacramento Monday over a bill requiring mandatory sentencing for certain juvenile sex offenders.
Audrie’s Law is named after a Saratoga High school student who committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted by classmates while she was unconscious. Audrie Pott’s attackers took pictures of her and passed them around school.
The law named after her would strengthen cyber bullying statutes by adding a year to any sexual assault where the offender shares pictures or texts of the crime. It also calls for trials and hearings of those charged with assaulting unconscious or developmentally disabled victims to be open to the public and the media.
Audrie’s dad Larry Pott testified before the committee at the hearing and condemned the 30 and 45 day sentences handed down in juvenile court.
“We strongly endorse this bill because of the crime that was committed against Audrie and what we feel was a lack of punishment and subsequent deterrent and a risk to public safety that we believe exists,” he said.
Audrie’s law requires a two-year minimum sentence, something that juvenile justice experts say is wrong. The law has already unanimously passed the Senate, but feeling the lack of support, Committee Chair and San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano chose to put off a vote until a compromise could be reached.
“I’m not made of stone and I don’t want to kill this bill…absolutely not. But I think there is some room here for discussion,” he said.
The bill goes back before committee next week.