2000 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Robertson
Senate Bill 3130
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF FELONY PARENTAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE; TO ENACT STANDARDS; TO CREATE A LOCAL REGISTRY; TO ENACT PENALTIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) (a) For purposes of this act, a conviction of felony parental child sexual abuse shall include any nolo contendere plea, guilty plea or conviction at trial to any offense enumerated in Section 93-15-103(3)(g) or any other statute of the State of Mississippi whereby a parent may be penalized as a felon on account of sexual abuse of his or her own child; and shall include any conviction by plea or trial in any other state of the United States to an offense whereby a parent may be penalized as a felon for sexual abuse of his or her own child under the laws of that state, or which would be so penalized for such conduct had the act or acts been committed in the State of Mississippi.
(b) A certified copy of the court order or judgment evidencing such a conviction shall be accepted by any public office with responsibilities pursuant to this act, and by any court in the State of Mississippi, as conclusive evidence of the conviction.
(2) (a) No person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse shall contact or attempt to contact the victim child without the prior express written permission of the child's then legal custodian, who may be the other parent, a guardian, person in loco parentis or person with legal or physical custody of a child.
(b) No person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse shall harass, threaten, intimidate or by any other means menace the victim child or any legal custodian of the child, who may be the other parent, a guardian, person in loco parentis or person with legal or physical custody of a child.
(c) Any person who believes that a person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse may violate the provisions of subsection (2)(a) or (2)(b) hereof may register with the sheriff and any municipal law enforcement agency of the child's county and municipality of residence, setting forth the factual basis for that belief which shall include a certified copy of the court order or judgment evidencing the conviction of the child sexual abuse felon. The sheriff's office of each county and all municipal law enforcement agencies shall maintain a separate and distinct register for the purpose of recording the data required herein, and shall advise the reporting party of how emergency contact can be made with that office at any time with respect to a threatened violation of subsection (2)(a) or (2)(b) hereof. Immediate response with police protection shall be provided to any emergency contact made pursuant to this section, which police protection shall be continued in such reasonable manner as to deter future violations and protect the child and any person with legal custody of the child.
(d) Any person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse who violates subsection (2)(a) hereof shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year. Any person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse who violates subsection (2)(b) hereof shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not more than five (5) years.
(3) No person who has been convicted of felony parental child sexual abuse shall be entitled to have parental or other visitation rights as to that child who was the victim, unless he or she files a petition in the chancery court of the county in which the child resides, reciting the conviction, and joining as parties defendant any other parent, guardian, person standing in loco parentis or having legal or physical custody of the child. A guardian ad litem shall be appointed to represent the child at petitioner's expense. The court shall appoint a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist to conduct an independent examination of the petitioner to determine whether contact with that person poses a physical or emotional risk to the child, and report to the court. Such examination shall be at petitioner's expense. The court shall require any such petitioner to deposit with the court sufficient funds to pay expenses chargeable to a petitioner hereunder, the amount of such deposit to be within the discretion of the chancellor. Any defendant and the child through his or her guardian ad litem shall be entitled to a full evidentiary hearing on the petition. In no event shall a child be required to testify in court or by deposition, or be subjected to any psychological examination, without the express consent of the child through his or her guardian ad litem. Such guardian ad litem shall consult with the child's legal guardian or custodians before consenting to such testimony or examination. At any hearing there is a rebuttable presumption that contact with the child poses a physical and emotional risk to the child. That presumption may be rebutted and visitation or contact allowed on such terms and conditions that the chancery court shall set only upon specific written findings by the court that:
(a) Contact between the child and the offending parent is appropriate and poses minimal risk to the child;
(b) If the child has received counseling, that the child's counselor believes such contact is in the child's best interest;
(c) The offending parent has successfully engaged in treatment for sex offenders or is engaged in such treatment and making progress; and
(d) The offending parent's treatment provider believes contact with the child is appropriate and poses minimal risk to the child. If the court, in its discretion, allows visitation or contact it may impose such conditions to the visitation or contact which it finds reasonable, including supervision of contact or visitation by a neutral and independent adult with a detailed plan for supervision of any such contact or visitation.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2000.