FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2019
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GUILLEN HELPS PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ABUSE
AUSTIN - As an author of House Bill 667, State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas), supports Texas family by helping to increase the penalty of sexual assault by a family member from a second degree felony to a first degree felony. HB 667 was recently signed into law by the Governor on June 10th, 2019.
"Its heartbreaking to know that of all juvenile victims of sexual assault crimes, 34% of them were committed by their own family members" said Guillen. "The penalty for taking advantage of a young family member should be more severe, and carry a punishment appropriate for the wickedness of such crimes."
Under current law, sexual assault offenses are referred to under the bigamy statute, which could be taken to mean that the person who committed the assault had to be married at the time of the assault to be prosecuted. This offense would be better defined under the incest statute to prevent perpetrators from prosecution due to minor technicalities.
Also known as Melissa's Law, house bill 667 aims to establish an affirmative defense to prosecution under the sexual assault statute, ensuring justice is served. The bill raises the penalty of a second degree felony (two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000) to a first degree felony (life in prison or a sentence of five to 99 years and an optional fine of up to $10,000).
"The foundation to a healthy family is trust, and fighting to protect that sacred bond isn't just right, but necessary." added Guillen. "I will continue to fight to see that perpetrators receive proper punishment and that survivors are granted the closure they deserve."
Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at ryanguillen.com, facebook.com/representative.guillen, and twitter.com/ryanguillen