Iowa tighten laws on child sex abuse

Crime bills and child sex abuse are a priority of Iowa prosecutors are advancing in the Iowa Legislature, with one signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Most of the bills close a gap in a law, provide clarification or add enhancements to existing laws, First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said.

The four priority bills of the Iowa County Attorneys Association, he said, focus on sex abuse charges and protections for children.

Reynolds has signed House File 231 into law, a bill that closes a gap in a first-degree burglary charge when it involves a sexual offense, Maybanks said.

The new law allow a judge to add a special sentence of lifetime parole for the defendant if sexual abuse is part of the burglary. Before, a prosecutor would have to file two charges — one for burglary and one for the sex abuse, he said.

Second- or third-degree sexual abuse sentencing already requires special parole sentences following any prison term. The special sentence for first-degree burglary now adds another layer of protection for victims, Maybanks added.

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