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Public Statements

Strengthening Investigations of Sex Offenders

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I rise today in support of S. 1792, the Strengthening Investigations of Sex Offenders and Missing Children Act of 2011. This legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Sessions, Feinstein, Schumer, Klobuchar, and Blumenthal, as well as Chairman Leahy of the Judiciary Committee, would clarify the authority of the U.S. Marshals to help track down sex offenders and missing children. It is a simple and common sense of piece of legislation. I urge my fellow Senators to support it, with the hope that our colleagues in the House will soon send it to the President's desk to be signed into law.

As my colleagues know, time is of the essence when children go missing. Of those children who are abducted and subsequently murdered, 74% are killed within 3 hours of being abducted. The U.S. Marshals Service has extensive experience with and sophisticated tools for quickly identifying and tracking down fugitives and missing individuals. Notably, the U.S. Marshals Service has substantial resources for finding the fugitive sex offenders who too often are involved in child abductions.

As a result, state and local law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children often call on the marshals to assist in the event that a child goes missing. This bill would make it clear that, upon request, the U.S. Marshals are allowed to assist in investigating these cases, even if an arrest warrant has not yet issued. The bill also clarifies the Marshals Service's authority to assist other law enforcement agencies, upon request, in investigating sex offender cases.

I thank Senator Sessions for working with me on this important legislation, and my fellow Judiciary Committee members Senators Feinstein, Schumer, Klobuchar, and Blumenthal for supporting the bill. I also would like to thank Chairman Leahy for cosponsoring the bill and for his leadership, both generally with respect to all his work to keep our children safe from predators and specifically for moving this piece of legislation through Committee.

I am confident that every member of the Senate will understand the clear and simple principle behind this legislation and the important threat to our children that it addresses. The bill was reported by a voice vote of the Judiciary Committee, I am aware of no concerns or opposition, and I would urge my colleagues to ensure its prompt passage by the Senate.

I yield the floor.


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