Child safety advocates join de la Cruz in support for bill to protect kids from sexual predators

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PROVIDENCE – Education and child safety advocates will join Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz, a Republican representing District 23 in North Smithfield, Burrillville and Glocester, to support legislation that they say will close a loophole that allows those in positions of authority to engage in sexual relations with children.

“Parents are angry and scared, and they want this bill passed. Concerned parents will join me at the State House on Monday,” de la Cruz said. “It’s way past time to make it illegal for teachers and coaches to have sexual relations with students.”

The group will gather to announce the legislation on Monday, May 16 in an event in the Rhode Island State House Library starting at noon.

Parents and other advocates for the legislation will deliver remarks in support of Senate 2219 and House 8230, which would make sexual relations perpetrated by a person with a position of authority over children between 14 and 18 illegal. Rep. Julie Casimiro, a Democrat representing District 31 in Exeter and North Kingstown, is sponsoring the House bill.

Scheduled speakers include Erika Sanzi, Cumberland resident and director of outreach at Parents Defending Education; Attorney Timothy Conlon, renowned legal expert in child abuse cases;  Megan Reilly, mother of four kids from North Kingstown; and Laurie Gaddis Barrett, Parents United RI will be among the speakers. 

“Most Rhode Islanders would be shocked to learn that an adult teacher who takes advantage of a 16 – year-old girl with a crush and wants to have sex with her teacher is not subject to criminal prosecution,” Conlon said.

Editor’s note: The above press release was sent from the state Senate Republican Office.

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