Benninghoff Legislation Gains Unanimous Support
Bill would prohibit ARD for child sex offenders

HARRISBURG – Today, in a unanimous vote, the House Judiciary Committee supported House Bill 623. The bill, introduced by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), would prohibit prosecutors from recommending, and the court from ordering, accelerated rehabilitative disposition, or ARD as it is more commonly known, for a person charged with certain child sex offenses. These include rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or aggravated indecent assault.

“While the program serves a valuable rehabilitative purpose for other offenses, someone charged with the sexual assault of a child should never be given ARD,” Benninghoff said. “My bill will make the law clear; criminals who choose to sexually assault children will not get a second chance and will never avoid prosecution.”

Under ARD, if a defendant successfully completes a period of supervision and follows the requirements imposed by the court, they go without a formal conviction on their record. The ARD program was designed to help first-time criminal offenders avoid the lifelong “consequence” of being convicted of a crime.

Though many Pennsylvania prosecutors sensibly reserve ARD for those whom they believe are truly deserving, as written, the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure gives them discretion to recommend any defendant, including child sexual predators, for the program.

“This is about getting predators off the street,” Benninghoff said. “The safety and well-being of our children are too important to be left to chance.”

The bill can now be considered by the House as a whole.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
717.260.6281 /
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