SB 0757 Revises various child protection laws
LR Number:3145L.19T Fiscal Note:3145-19
Committee:Public Health and Welfare
Last Action:07/13/00 - Signed by Governor Journal page:
Title:HS HCS SS#2 SCS SBs 757 & 602
Effective Date:August 28, 2000
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Current Bill Summary

HS/HCS/SS#2/SCS/SBs 757 & 602 - This act revises various child protection laws and various criminal provisions, including those targeting children as victims.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES SECTION 210.001 - Currently, this section requires the Department of Social Services to fund certain regional child assessment centers. New language adds the center in Jefferson County.

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT REPORTS SECTION 210.109 - The Division of Family Services shall immediately contact law enforcement upon receipt of a report of a suspected violation of certain criminal provisions targeting children. As used in this section, "report" includes hotline calls.

SECTION 210.115 - Certain medical, child care and school personnel are currently required to report the death of a child under 18 years of age to the Division. If the medical examiner or coroner determines that the child died from natural causes while under medical care, he or she shall notify the Division of the child's death and the child's attending physician shall sign the death certificate. In all other cases, the medical examiner or coroner shall immediately notify the Division of the child's death, and report the findings to the child fatality review panel.

SECTION 210.145 - The local office of the Division must currently relay reports of certain crimes involving children to local law enforcement. This act adds possession of child pornography and the newly created crime of furnishing child pornography to a minor to the list. Multidisciplinary teams may use the services of and shall maintain communication with local public school district liaisons during the investigation. The local Division staff should determine whether the investigation or the family assessment approach should be used to respond to reports. The Division shall provide written notification to local law enforcement prior to terminating any investigative process. Such notification shall not prevent investigation by law enforcement.

A Chief Investigator shall be named for each local division and, on cases involving multiple incidents with the same child, the Chief Investigator will be required to directly observe the child. If the child attends a non-public school, the Chief Investigator must notify the school principal of the investigation. A person required to report may request findings and information concerning the case. The release of such information will be at the discretion of the Director upon evaluation of the reporter's ability to assist in protecting the child. Findings shall be made available to the reporter within five days of the end of the investigation.

SECTION 210.150 - The duplication of record-keeping provisions in this section and Section 210.152 is deleted and the two-year period before destruction of unsubstantiated reports is removed. Release of findings or information about cases resulting in a child fatality or near fatality is at the Director of the Department of Social Services' discretion, based upon potential harm to other children within the immediate family.

SECTION 210.152 - Currently, the Division must retain identifying information for five years upon a finding of insufficient evidence and must begin counting this time from the date of the closing of a case. This act requires retention of information for ten years from the report date if reports are made by a mandated reporter and for two years from the report date if reports are made by non-mandated reporters.

SECTION 210.192 - The local child fatality review panel shall review all deaths of children under the age of 18 that meet the guidelines set by the Department of Social Services. In addition, the panel has discretion to review any child death reported to it by the medical examiner or coroner.

SECTION 210.195 - The state Child Fatality Review Panel shall meet at least biannually. The state technical assistance team shall submit findings and recommendations at least once a year to entities including juvenile officers and the chairmen of the local child fatality review panels.

SECTION 1 - The Department of Social Services shall engage community-based public and private organizations in Jackson County to participate in a pilot project for the purpose of formulating a community response to chid abuse and neglect.

CONTRACTS SECTION 431.056 - A minor is competent to enter into certain contracts if the minor is at least 16 years of age and is homeless or a victim of domestic violence unless under the supervision of the Division of Family Services or the juvenile court, and is self-supporting and living independently with parental consent.

TERMINATION OF RIGHTS/ADOPTION SECTION 453.011 - Allows expedited procedure for contested proceedings regarding termination of parental rights or adoption of a child, including appellate procedures. This portion of the act is identical to HB 1981.

EVIDENCE SECTION 491.074 - A prior inconsistent statement of any witness testifying in any criminal trial shall be received as substantive evidence. Currently, this provision is limited to prosecutions for offenses against the person, sexual offenses or offenses against the family.

SENTENCING SECTION 559.115 - A court may not grant probation to defendants convicted of certain crimes, including abuse of a child pursuant to Section 568.060, RSMo, when classified as a Class A felony. Abuse of a child is a Class A felony when the offense results in the death of the child.

CRIMINAL PROVISIONS SECTION 556.063 - Recodifies and revises definitions relating to computer crimes.

SECTION 566.010 - Defines "deviate sexual intercourse" to include fondling.

SECTION 566.025 - In prosecutions of a sexual nature involving victims under fourteen years of age, evidence of past offenses of a sexual nature against children under fourteen will be admissible unless the court finds that the probative value of such evidence is outweighed by the prejudicial effect.

SECTION 566.067 - A person commits the crime of child molestation in the first degree if he subjects a child less than 14 years of age to sexual contact. The penalty for child molestation in the first degree, currently a Class C felony, is increased to a Class B felony. If the actor is a repeat offender, inflicts serious physical injury, displays a weapon or subjects the victim to sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with more than one person, the penalty, currently a Class B felony, is increased to a Class A felony.

SECTION 566.068 - A person commits the crime of child molestation in the second degree if he subjects a person less than 17 years of age to sexual contact. The penalty for child molestation in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. If the actor is a repeat offender, inflicts serious injury, displays a weapon, or commits the offense as part of a ritual or ceremony, the penalty is a Class D felony.

SECTION 568.052 - Creates the crime of leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor is an unattended child 10 years of age or less causes the motor vehicle to injure another person, and a C felony if the injury is fatal. This portion of the act is identical to HB 1146.

SECTION 568.065 - Creates the Class B felony of genital mutilation. Belief that the mutilation is required as matter of custom or standard practice, or consent of the child's parent, shall not be an affirmative defense. Performance for medical purposes, by a person licensed to practice medicine, is an affirmative defense. This portion of the act is identical to HB 1234.

SECTION 568.110 - Currently any film or photographic print professional who observes images depicting a child less than 17 engaged in sexual conduct had a duty to report to law enforcement; failure to do so is Class B misdemeanor. The act extends this duty to any computer provider, installer or repair person, or Internet service provider, and changes the age of the child involved to any child less than 18. Nothing in this section shall require a provider to monitor users or customers.

SECTION 573.010 - Defines "child" as any person less than 14, for the purposes of Chapter 573. Updates other definitions to include references to computer use.

SECTION 573.020 - Adds a provision to allow prosecution for Class D felony of promoting obscenity in the first degree, for using a computer to distribute pornographic material to minors if the defendant had knowledge that the person to which information was supplied was a minor.

SECTION 573.024 - Creates the crime of sexual exploitation of a minor, for creating child pornography or obscene material with a minor. The penalty is a Class B felony unless the minor is a child, in which case it is a Class A felony.

SECTION 573.025 - Revises crime of promoting child pornography in the first degree to include reference to computer use. The crime is a Class B felony unless the person knowingly promotes such material to a minor, in which case it is a Class A felony.

SECTION 573.030 - Revises crime of promoting pornography for minors or obscenity in the second degree to include reference to computer use.

SECTION 573.035 - Revises crime of promoting child pornography in the second degree to include reference to computer use. Increases penalty from the current Class D felony to a Class C felony, unless the person knowingly promoted such material to a minor, in which case it is a Class B felony.

SECTION 573.037 - Possession of child pornography shall include possession or control of any visual depictions of a minor involved in sexual contact. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the offender has a previous such offense, in which case it is a Class D felony.

SECTION 573.040 - Revises crime of furnishing pornographic material to minors to include reference to computer use.

REGISTRATION OF OFFENDERS SECTION 589.400 - Currently certain persons must register for specified crimes involving a victim less than 17; this act revises the age of the victim to a person less than 18. The registration requirement is extended to persons required to register in another state or under federal or military law. Registration is a lifetime requirement unless all such offenses are vacated or reversed, or the registrant is pardoned.

SECTION 589.410 - The local chief law enforcement official shall forward the completed form to the Highway Patrol within 3 days.

SECTION 589.414 - Revises registration requirements when a registrant changes residency, including to another county or state. All registrants shall report annually in the month of their birth to verify the information on file.

SECTION 589.425 - Failure to meet all registration requirements is a Class A misdemeanor; subsequent violations are a Class D felony.

SPECIAL TEAM SECTION 660.520 - A special team, to be called a state technical assistance team, shall act in cases of child abuse, child neglect, child sexual abuse, child exploitation or child fatality. Where assistance is requested, state technical assistance team members shall investigate these claims and shall cooperate with law enforcement. The team shall prioritize cases on which more than one report has been received. The Director of the Division of Family Services will be held accountable for cases reported and filed with the Division. Team members must have training to be peace officers. Team members shall have limited arrest powers. Reports of the team and of local law enforcement, including arrest records, shall be available in the same manner as law enforcement records as set forth in Sections 610.100 to 610.200.

Certain provisions in this act are identical to portions of SB 758.