SB746: Children; failure to report missing, penalty.

SENATE BILL NO. 746

Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled December 14, 2012
A BILL to amend and reenact 18.2-371.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to abuse and neglect of a child; penalty.
Patron-- Stanley

Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That 18.2-371.1 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

18.2-371.1. Abuse and neglect of children; penalty; abandoned infant.

A. Any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child under the age of 18 who by willful act or omission or refusal to provide any necessary care for the child's health causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of such child shall be is guilty of a Class 4 felony. For purposes of this subsection, "serious injury" shall include but not be limited to (i) disfigurement, (ii) a fracture, (iii) a severe burn or laceration, (iv) mutilation, (v) maiming, (vi) forced ingestion of dangerous substances, or (vii) life-threatening internal injuries.

B. 1. Any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child under the age of 18 whose willful act or omission in the care of such child was so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life shall be is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child under the age of 12 who, with intent to conceal the fact that the child is missing, fails to report or cause to be reported to the local law-enforcement agency or to the State Police that the child is missing within a reasonable period of time after discovery of the fact is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

2. If a prosecution under this subsection is based solely on the accused parent having left the child at a hospital or rescue squad, it shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution of a parent under this subsection that such parent safely delivered the child to a hospital that provides 24-hour emergency services or to an attended rescue squad that employs emergency medical technicians, within the first 14 days of the child's life. In order for the affirmative defense to apply, the child shall be delivered in a manner reasonably calculated to ensure the child's safety.

C. Any parent, guardian, or other person having care, custody, or control of a minor child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination shall not, for that reason alone, be considered in violation of this section.

2.  That the provisions of this act may result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment or commitment. Pursuant to  30-19.1:4, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of imprisonment in state adult correctional facilities; therefore, Chapter 3 of the Acts of Assembly of 2012, Special Session I, requires the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to assign a minimum fiscal impact of $50,000. Pursuant to  30-19.1:4, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.