Committee: increase penalty for sex offenders

Cheyenne, Wyo. – A House bill calls for setting a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for a conviction of first-degree sexual assault against a minor.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bill that would increase the current penalty which can range from zero to 50 years in prison. The new bill would make it 15 to 50 years.

Republican Rep. Bryan Pedersen, of Cheyenne, presented the bill. He says it would fill a void in the state's statutes against sex offenders.

Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties Union in Wyoming urged the committee to reject the bill. She says it would transfer discretion from judges to prosecutors.