Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) has introduced a bill to deny sexual abusers their eligibility to rest among our military heroes in our country's veterans and national cemeteries. The Hallowed Grounds Act would ensure that only the honorable are awarded with burial honors.
"I first learned of this situation during a recent town hall in Osceola when a constituent relayed a heart wrenching story of her sexual abuse at the hands of her father," said Hartzler. "To add to her trauma, this man was a veteran who was buried in a national cemetery with full honors. This is unacceptable!"
"While veterans guilty of capital crimes have justly been denied burial in our national cemeteries, veterans guilty of sexual abuse of children are still entitled to these honors," explained Hartzler. "Allowing these offenders to rest in fields of honor is an insult to America's military heroes. Furthermore, it is an outrage to the victims and their families. It is my hope that no sexual abuse victim will suffer the pain of knowing an offender has been given the honor of a full military funeral."
The Hallowed Grounds Act will prohibit an individual who is classified as a Tier III sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act from being buried at a veterans or national cemetery. A Tier III sex offender is one whose offenses against a child might include the crimes of aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.
Vicky Hartzler was elected to Congress on November 2, 2010. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.