AUSTIN-- Today the House of Representatives passed Chelsea’s Law, House Bill 1748, that mandates life in prison for certain sexual assault convictions. Representative Tony Dale, Cedar Park, is a co-author of this important legislation.
The legislation is named after Chelsea King, a San Diego teenage girl who was raped and killed in 2010 by a convicted child molester who had been released on parole. Despite multiple parole violations, the offender was never re-arrested. King’s parents created a 501(c)4 organization, Chelsea’s Shield, to promote similar legislation across the country. According to Chelsea’s Shield, the average jail sentence imposed in the United States for those who rape children is only three to seven years.
“Chelsea’s Law will protect Texas children from unspeakable evil,” said Representative Branch, Dallas, who introduced the bill in the Texas House. “Never again should there be a second victim of these most vile offenders.”
In 2007 the Texas Legislature passed Jessica's Law to enact the most severe penalties for child sex offenders, but only for repeat offenders. House Bill 1748 would require life without parole for certain convictions, specifically rape of a child under 6 and rape of a child under 14 causing bodily injury. Chelsea's Law would provide for a true one-strike sentence for adult offenders who rape children.
Representative Dale stated, “I’m committed to keeping our communities safe. I’m proud to co-author this legislation which will help protect our children from sexual predators.”
Dale was elected to the House in November 2012. He is a small business owner and veteran of the U.S. Army who previously served on the Cedar Park City Council. He represents western Williamson County, including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Brushy Creek, as well as parts of north Austin.