TOPEKA —Governor Laura Kelly has signed a bill that would prevent judges from lowering sentences for child sex offenders if they think the victims were willing participants in the crime.
“Judges must interpret and apply the law with common sense and an understanding of the real world, especially in child sex crime cases,” Kelly said. “I was deeply troubled when a Kansas judge viewed a child victim as an aggressor when an adult commits a sex crime. I’m pleased to sign this bill eliminating the ability to reduce sentences for sex crimes in these cases,” Kelly stated in a media release.
The bill signed this week comes after a Leavenworth County judge in February reduced the sentence for 67-year-old Raymond Soden because he thought the 13- and 14-year-old girls involved in the case were “aggressors.”
The bill eliminates the reason for a downward departure in sentencing for sexually violent crimes when the victim is younger than 14 years and the offender is an adult. It also would make that departure factor unavailable when human trafficking victims are involved regardless of their age.