Incest bill clears state Senate Judiciary Committee

Would designate incest as a “violent offense” for the purposes of criminal sentencing.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — A bill designed to increase jail time for those convicted of incest was approved Thursday by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sponsored by Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, and Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, Senate Bill 38 passed with a 9-1 vote. It now heads to the full Senate.

The bill would amend state law to designate those convicted of incest as a “violent offender.” That would require them to serve 85 percent of their criminal sentence rather than 15 percent under the current law.

“We’re not changing any crimes,” Adams told committee members. “We’re just talking about the time served for people who have been convicted.”

Incest survivor Laken Albrink testified during the meeting that tougher penalties are needed for offenders. Albrink said she was sexually abused by her stepfather for many years before he was later convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

“However, very soon thereafter, he was parole eligible at 15 percent serve time, which what is currently the serve time to be parole eligible for incest as it’s written now,” she said. “So it’s really important to us that we work to get incest classified as a violent offense as is the other sexual offenses that are listed.”

Albrink added the trauma of sexual abuse is compounded for victims each time an offender appears before a parole board.

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, cast the lone no vote. He questioned how the changes would impact serve times for juvenile offenders who engage in an incestuous, but otherwise consensual relationship.

Sen. Phillip Wheeler, R-Pikeville, said he assumes authorities would have to conduct additional fact-finding in situations involving very young children to determine what penalties, if any, apply. He noted the court would need to consider other factors set forth in statute.

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