Senator Biden Applauds Delaware's Quick Passage of Adam Walsh Child Protection Legislation
Biden: "Legislation Will Help Save Lives"
U.S. Senator Joe Biden, (D-DE) co-author of the federal "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act," today applauded Governor Minner, Attorney General Biden and members of Delaware's General Assembly for quickly enacting a tough, new law that will crack down on sexual predators by strengthening the State's registration requirements for sex offenders and stiffen penalties for those failing to register.
Delaware's quick passage of this bill makes the State among the first in the nation to implement the federal Adam Walsh Act. Delaware is now eligible to receive federal funds to better track sex offenders, enforce registration and educate parents and their children about child predators.
"Plain and simple: This legislation will help save children's lives," said Senator Biden, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "Sexual predators must be carefully tracked -- parents have a right to know when these criminals are in their neighborhoods. I am proud that my home state is among the first to step up to the plate and pass these tough, new and necessary measures."
Specifically, Delaware's bill will:
Reduces the amount of time a convicted sex offender has to register or re-register after being released on probation or parole from seven (7) days to three (3) days, and requires the highest level offenders to verify with state police every 90 days.
Requires convicted sex offenders to appear in person to register or re-register with the Delaware State Police so that changes to their appearance can be noted; and
Requires convicted sex offenders to provide additional identifying information to authorities, including his or her social security number and vehicle registration.
The legislation also makes it a felony for a convicted sex offender to fail to verify his address, and mandates the immediate issuance of an arrest warrant for any offender who fails to register, re-register or verify as required.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are approximately 600,000 sex offenders nationwide, 20% of whom are not accounted for.
"We've done a lot to protect our kids from sex offenders - creating the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1984, enacting the Biden Crime Bill in 1994, and enacting the Amber Alert system in 2003 - but it is not enough. We must do more. The Adam Walsh Act will help prevent these low-life sexual predators from slipping through the cracks," said Senator Biden.
The federal Adam Walsh Act was signed into law last July. The bill tightened existing law by requiring sex offenders to register prior to release from prison. It also added the "use of the Internet to facilitate or commit a crime against a minor" as an offense that triggers registration and authorizes funding to help integrate and expand existing state registration systems so that information will be shared instantly and seamlessly among them.
Senator Biden is the author of the landmark 1994 Crime Bill that helped create the first programs to track and register convicted child molesters. Additionally, he is an original member of the bipartisan Senate Caucus on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children which was founded last year. This panel is charged with helping to develop legislation on behalf of missing, exploited, and runaway children, and to work with both national and local child advocacy organizations.