House Approves Benninghoff Legislation to Prohibit ARD for Child Sex Offenders
10/15/2015
HARRISBURG – On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s (R-Centre/Mifflin) legislation to protect children from sexual offenders received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

House Bill 623 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.

“When a terrible tragedy occurs in our communities, we often ask ourselves, ‘was there something I could have done’,” Benninghoff said. “This bill helps to prevent child predators from causing more harm to our children, and I am grateful to my colleagues from all across the state for joining forces, and for doing something to protect them.”

WATCH: Rep. Benninghoff advocates for House Bill 623 last week on the House floor.

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 is now headed to the Senate for concurrence.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
717.260.6281
mwagner@pahousegop.com
KerryBenninghoff.com / Facebook.com/RepBenninghoff
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