Sex offenders; prohibiting proximity to children. (HB223)

Introduced By

Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) with support from co-patron Del. Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Offenses prohibiting proximity to children. Provides that an adult other than an adult dropping off or picking up his child, who is convicted of an offense prohibiting proximity to children, shall be forever prohibited from entering upon or loitering within 100 feet of the premises of a public recreation center or community center. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


12/28/2007Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 087798472
12/28/2007Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/02/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB223)
01/10/2008Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/28/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB223)
02/01/2008Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/01/2008Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/04/2008Committee substitute printed 080836472-H1
02/04/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB223H1)
02/05/2008Assigned App. sub: Public Safety (Sherwood)
02/08/2008Reported from Appropriations (24-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2008Read first time
02/11/2008Read second time
02/11/2008Committee substitute agreed to 080836472-H1
02/11/2008Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB223H1
02/12/2008Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/12/2008VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2008Communicated to Senate
02/13/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
02/13/2008Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/20/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB223H1)
02/20/2008Reported from Courts of Justice (11-Y 4-N)
02/22/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
02/25/2008Read third time
02/25/2008Passed by for the day
02/26/2008Read third time
02/26/2008Passed by for the day
02/27/2008Read third time
02/27/2008Passed by for the day
02/28/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB223S1)
02/28/2008Read third time
02/28/2008Reading of substitute waived
02/28/2008Floor substitute printed 080359328-S1 (Stolle)
02/28/2008Substitute by Senator Stolle agreed to 080359328-S1
02/28/2008Engrossed by Senate - floor substitute HB223S1
02/28/2008Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N)
02/29/2008Placed on Calendar
03/03/2008Senate substitute agreed to by House 080359328-S1 (100-Y 0-N)
03/03/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (100-Y 0-N)
03/05/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB223S1)
03/05/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB223ER)
03/05/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB223ER)
03/05/2008Signed by Speaker
03/06/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB223ER)
03/06/2008Signed by President
03/12/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 579 (effective 7/1/08)
03/18/2008G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0579)


Julie writes:

I am at a loss to understand how legislators, paid in part by my tax dollars, continue to propose more and more laws in an effort to "protect children" from stranger danger when 1) most offenses are committed by persons known to children; 2) not all sex offenses involve a child victim; 3) a LOT of sex offenders have children of their own.

I do not in any way support the act of sex offenses, but I do believe in proactive measures being taken to allow people who have proven their desire to be a contributor to society to be allowed to become a functional part of society.

There is no research that supports, even in part, that efforts limiting those on the sex offender registry from being in proximity to children has stopped any sex offense.

Money required for implementing and enforcing this proposed law would better be spent on counseling and educational programs. Please stop this madness before it escalates further.

Shirley writes:

I am in totally agreement with Julie above and find it hard to believe that our society and govenment cannot realize that there are no records are staticis that show sex offenses are taking place where children play or go to school. Most offenses are done by those that know their victim. The term Sex Offender is attached as a label for those that have not physcially attached or molested a child and have the opportunity to be rehabed and joing society as a tax payer if given the chance. I can't believe the laws being passed that only cause more harm by driving sex offender out in the countries where it's hard to monitor them and the cost to implement these laws is high. Let's give them that chance they desire once released and stop trying to double the penalty on them. Are we not a forgiving country to other enamines and forgien people - why not our own.

L. Lawless writes:

This is bogus legislation that is based on ignorance regarding sex offenses and offenders. With a recidivism rate lower than all other types of offenses (according to the Dept. of Justice and all other research), sex offenders as a group are unlikely to reoffend - much less likely than a drug dealer who presumably has free access to our rec centers. Over 90% of sex offenses are perpetrated by a family member or family friend or someone else the child knows well (Center for Sex Offender Management). Dept. of Justice statistics show that over 90% of all new sex offenses are committed by people NOT ALREADY ON THE REGISTRY. Therefore, this law is really pretty worthless and only serves to make people THINK their children are safer. The kids are in more danger from that family friend or coach or teacher who isn't on the registry.

This law would prevent former offenders from engaging in community activities as well as preventing children from having their parents with them during their own activities. Please remember that the category of "offenses prohibiting proximity to children" also includes those young people convicted of consensual sex with a younger teen. These are basically kids who will be denied access to age-appropriate activities because they had sex with a younger, willing teen.

While this law may appear sensible, extensive research has demonstrated that these proximity approaches do not impact the incidence of child sexual assault and only serve to further isolate, disenfranchise, and destabilize former offenders. Del. Cosgrove needs to do his research instead of just jumping on the "get tough on sex offenders" bandwagon because there is little opposition.

TX Dragon writes:

There isn't much more I can say that hasn't already been well said. I hope the day will come soon when politicians will feel the election bite when they go for feel-good legislation which has been proven to do nothing other than increase the work load on an already burdened police force, waste our tax dollars and, hopefully, they will let people who have completed every requirement of their sentence get on with their lives without having to carry the scarlet letter of 'sex offender' til they die.

Brittnay G writes:

I totally agree with everyone who posted before me.

Enough of the hype/myths and lies from the media/politicians who want nothing but ratings and votes. Time for people to start taking a stand.

William Rights writes:

At some point this has to stop. Everyday passinghtese new laws just to get yout name inthe newspaper for the voters to see. None of these politicians take the time to actually learn the facts and get answers fromthe people that spend their lives working with children and/or SO's.

The Fallen One writes:

The fact that these laws are ineffective, inefficient, and counterproductive is rather evident, as failed an experiment as prohibition was. The evidence that proves these laws don't work is numerous, and new studies come out every day that attest to this. Check out my comprehensive list of studies below:

This has become a matter of hatred, vindictiveness, and ignorance rather than about some perceived notion of "public safety" or "protecting children." SOs have families too, so should wives, kids, etc., suffer too?

Dave writes:

There is not a shred of evidence that these sorts of exclusion zones contribute in ANY way to ANYONE's safety, and plenty of evidence that they don't. By forcing law enforcement agencies to concentrate their efforts on enforcing laws directed against people very unlikely to pose a threat, you make it harder for them to do what you pay them for, namely, address real dangers to public safety.
There is plenty of evidence that allowing offenders to participate in a meaningful way in the community, you REDUCE the recidivism rate, which DOES make the public safer. By isolating and ostracizing sex offenders (or anyone else, you make tracking them more difficult. Many states have found this to be the case. You also make rehabilitation less likely.
Enough is enough.

Brittnay G writes:

“The current law applies to too many offenders and I spend ‘way, way too much of my time’ trying to enforce it, I believe less than 10% of the state's 8,000 convicted sex offenders to be high-risk and am lobbying lawmakers to focus on them”
-- Sgt. Gary Stansill, Sex-crimes Unit, Tulsa Police Department

If only 10% are a risk to re-offend, then it makes no sense whatsoever to have 78% on Lier III. The highest Tier should have the smallest number.

Brittnay G writes:

''Most people who know anything about this are frustrated. It is just not helpful -- the laws as they are now,'' said Randy Lopp, treatment subcommittee chairman of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Management Team.

Lopp is also a member of the review board established by the new law to categorize the sex offenders into three levels.

''I think if the general public understood the research, they would be willing to back the legislators to change the laws to make more sense and to protect children, because the laws as they are written are not protecting children," he said. "They are doing more harm than good.''

Marsha Maines writes:

What about 'sex offenders' who have children? Now they can't even go grocery shopping? PULEASE!
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?? Did they lose some brain cells while living in their white collar towers???

Anon writes:

One word of caution to those proposing and passing these laws--be careful what you wish for. At one point in my life, I would have supported anything that would protect my children from the evil sex offenders of the world. Then I was forced to learn the other side of the story when a sex offense occurred in our own family--not by a stranger, but by an immediate member of our own family. No restriction law could have stopped this.

Keep in mind that no one, as much as you would like to believe, is guaranteed an excemption from having someone in your family--your child, your spouse, your mother or father--having to live by these laws one day.

I was educated the hard way. I ask that you take time to become educated now--support prevention and counseling programs--and stop these restrictive, punitive laws that have proven to do more harm than good--not only to the family members (who can also be the victims) but to society as a whole.

anti-pedophile writes:

LL writes: " Dept. of Justice statistics show that over 90% of all new sex offenses are committed by people NOT ALREADY ON THE REGISTRY. Therefore, this law is really pretty worthless "

It sounds more like the sex registry is a good tool in PREVENTING recidivism. Keep sex offenders away from kids. Want to be near kids? Don't be a sex offender.

Why is this so troubling for some people? Seriously, where are all these friends of sex offenders coming from?

Tim McCormack writes:

"anti-pedophile": First of all, there's a difference between "sex offender" and "pedophile". A person can be charged as a sex offenders for something as simple as accidentally showing porn to kids, or (apparently) urinating in public (even if you think no one is around.) And in some states (Virginia might be one of them), if a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old have sex, they can both be charged as sex offenders. So "don't be a sex offender" is poor reasoning, as long as the legal definition can include accidents or completely consensual contact.

Furthermore, "stranger danger" is a myth. Almost all cases of sex crimes against children involve a trusted family or community member: A teacher, priest, uncle, father, mother... These are people who already have access to children and will continue to until they are caught. Keeping them away from all children everywhere is of little use by then -- at that point, they're already known as pedophiles.

No one here is supporting sex crimes, and you know that.

Me writes:

First of all. do not misuse the word pedophile...

To expand on what Tim McCormack said, the violation of an Americans civil liberties should be of a concern to every American.

The Sex Offender Registry started in 1947 as a tool for law enforcement to be aware of the presence of the most dangerous of sexual predators in their jurisdiction. Now, it has degraded from a tool to know who was in the area to the community notification incarnation which has been applied ex-post facto to offenders under the guise of being "administrative" in nature to circumvent the Constitution.

We should all take notice, because where does it stop? Some states and jurisdictions are already instituting "offender" registries and felon registries. What is next, a financial crime registry full of people that have bounced checks? It is a slippery slope indeed.

I believe you don't "get" what LL was saying, he was saying that only between 3 and 6 % of most sex offenders will repeat a sexually related offense and that 90% of new sex offenders are not on the registry, so what is the purpose of the registry? Generally, the people on it will not re-offend, so what is the point. If the case is to notify people of "wrong doers", why not institute a system of notifying everyone if they break a law, pretty soon all 320 million Americans will be on it, no one is perfect.

It has no preventative qualities what so ever, kind of like the Death Penalty, there are no statistics to prove that it is a deterrent. So what is it, vengeance.

Its funny, the Bible belt has the most stringent of Sex Offender laws. Why is that if Christians believe in atonement and forgiveness?

Remember, what is worse, the person who may have urinated in public or politician pandering for your vote by scaring you with inaccuracies and distortions of the truth concerning our children's safety?

L. Lawless writes:

Well, I'm certainly not FOR pedophiles - who is? While not "pro-pedophile", I am pro-civil rights and rational laws based on evidence not hysteria, myths, and ignorance. A great deal of non-biased government research has found these types of laws (and, incidently the registry as a whole) to be counter-productive with the potential to decrease public safety rather than increase it.

My point with this particular bill is that given the number of people on the registry, the fact that a very small percentage will reoffend, and the fact that only a small percentage of offenses are by strangers (presumably those being targeted by this bill), laws like this target about 75-100 people in all of Virginia who MAY reoffend against a child who is a stranger. Add to that the idea that they will offend in one of these places. Really, the chances are pretty miniscule. Therefore, we are destroying the civil liberties of thousands of offenders and consequently their families on the tiny chance that a registered offender will reoffend on the property of a rec center.

All of the big name cases (the ones we name laws for - Jessica, Megan, Jacob) were abducted from their homes or neighborhoods - NOT from community areas or "places children congregate". Numerous state reports have noted that they either don't have ANY cases where sexual assaults occurred in these areas (schools, rec centers, parks, etc) or they have very few.

Advocating for laws based on solid research protects children while supporting the reintegration of former sex offenders into communities. The goal, yes?

L. Lawless writes:

Oops - just wanted to remind "anti-pedophile" that SODOMY is still a registerable offense in Virginia ... There are really quite a few ways to end up on the registry. Maybe he/she should be there, too?

The fallen Fraud writes:

The poster "Fallen One" is Derek Logue, a registered sexual predator, who lives in Cincinnati. He was convicted of sexual crimes against an 11 year old girl. He was 23 at the time. He says on his website that his crimes with the 11 year old were consensual. He is sickening.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

For those as surprised by the prior person's comments as I was, note that all of the information provided is provided by Mr. Logue on his own website, which he linked to from his own prior comment. All of this information is available publicly, and willingly made public by Mr. Logue.

broken hearted writes:

I am not going to go into details but I will say that a family member of mine inappropiatly touched another family member years ago and is now on the SO registry. The "survivior" loves that family member and is now SORRY she told. Healing can take place for NO ONE when it is thrown into your face everyday. She sees her loved one shunned and unable to find work and it breaks her heart as well as mine