Today, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) formally announced the "Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013." This new federal legislation will ensure that those who commit heinous acts against children are punished appropriately.
"As a father and grandfather, what happened to little Kilah sickens me," said Congressman Pittenger. "When I learned that many states have inadequate laws regarding child abuse, I committed to taking appropriate federal action to protect children, the most vulnerable in our society."
Kilah's mother, Kirbi Davenport, attended today's press conference and expressed strong support for the new legislation.
"Like any mother, I wish my baby girl didn't have to be the face of this legislation, but those were the cards we were dealt," commented Kirbi Davenport. "I support this legislation 100 percent, and I call on Washington lawmakers to support this bill whatever their political views. Preventing child abuse is a bipartisan issue, and this legislation has the potential to save a child's life."
If enacted, the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act will ensure states punish child abusers who inflict serious injury with a minimum sentence of more than 10 years. Currently in North Carolina, a first-time offender would receive a sentence of 4 to 6 years, even though the child might be disabled for life. In New York, an offender who throws a child's head against a hard object, causing brain damage, would receive a maximum sentence of only 7 years!
States that do not meet minimum sentencing requirements would lose the right to receive federal taxpayer money for child abuse prevention programs. Until states take serious action to punish child abusers, it's a waste of federal taxpayer money to pay for prevention programs on the front end.
For more information on the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act (H.R. 1311), visit pittenger.house.gov/KilahsLaw.