CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — A new law signed by Gov. Jim Justice would create stronger requirements that people convicted of certain sex offenses and crimes against children would have to meet in order to be eligible for probation and parole as well as strengthen protections for children.
Senate Bill 136‘s changes apply to “all relating generally to judicial treatment of sex offenses” and expands the list of offenses for which a convicted person is precluded from living with any children or having contact with their victims.
The changes to the law apply to violations of West Virginia State Code sections §61-3C14b, soliciting a minor; §61-8-12, incest; §61-8A-1 et seq., offenses involving showing explicit material to minors; §61-8B-1 et seq., which outlines sexual offenses; §61-8C-1 et seq., filming sexually explicit conduct of minors and §61-8D-5, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian.
The new law requires those convicted of the offenses to undergo a physical, mental, and psychiatric or psychological study and diagnosis that includes active participation in sexual abuse counseling through an approved program in order to be eligible for probation.
It also requires any person convicted of offenses involving showing explicit material to minors; filming sexually explicit conduct of minors; sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian; §61-8D-6, parents, guardians or custodians, engaging with material depicting a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct; §61-2-14, abduction or kidnapping; incest; §61-8-6, detention of a person in a place of prostitution when involving a child or §61-8-7, procuring for house of prostitution when involving a child, to be registered when they are released on probation.
Those convicted of soliciting a minor; incest; offenses involving showing explicit material to minors; §61-8B-1 et seq., which outlines sexual offenses; filming sexually explicit conduct of minors; or §61-8D-1 et seq., child abuse, will be prohibited from living with any minor child or having contact with their victims.
The bill passed unanimously in the House of Delegates and the State Senate. The law will go into effect on May 31, 2023, according to the West Virginia Legislature’s online records.
It was sponsored by local Sen. Michael Oliverio (R, Monongalia).