|Contact: Press_Office@santorum.senate.gov||October 30, 2000|
AIMEE’S LAW SIGNED INTO LAW
Aimee’s Law Included in Package Signed by the President
Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) praised the President’s signing on Saturday of Aimee’s Law (S. 668), legislation introduced by Santorum to keep violent criminals in prison. Aimee’s Law was included in H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Conference Report, which seeks to end the trafficking of women and children into the international sex trade, slavery and forced labor. H.R. 3244 also includes major provisions reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and providing justice for victims of terrorism.
Stated Santorum, “Over the past two years, I have been honored to work with Gail Willard, Aimee’s mom, as an advocate of this legislation to keep criminals in prison. We cannot stand by and allow violent criminals back into our communities to threaten the lives of our children. We need tougher sentences and longer time served. Aimee’s Law gives us hope as parents, legislators, law enforcement officials and citizens that we can keep these criminals from repeating their heinous acts of violence. My one regret is that this provision was not law before tragedy struck the Willard family, but I am grateful that this bill has finally been signed into law so that the suffering of other families may be prevented.”
Santorum introduced Aimee’s Law in March 1999. Aimee's Law was prompted by the tragic death of college senior Aimee Willard from Brookhaven, Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. Arthur Bomar, a convicted murderer, was early paroled from a Nevada prison. Even after he assaulted a woman in prison, Nevada released him early. Bomar traveled to Pennsylvania where he found Aimee. He kidnapped, brutally raped and murdered Aimee. He was prosecuted a second time for murder for committing this heinous crime in Delaware County, PA. Aimee's mother, Gail Willard, has become a tireless advocate for victims' rights and serves as an inspiration to all who have the privilege of coming in contact with her.
Gail Willard commented, “It is now our hope that states will take a long, hard look at their parole systems before they return convicted murderers to the streets. Perhaps this will prevent people like Arthur Bomar from early release. If Nevada had enforced his life sentence, Aimee would be alive today. My heartfelt thanks goes out to Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Without the diligent efforts of these three men and their staffs, Aimee’s Law would not be a reality.”
This important legislation would use federal crime fighting funds to create an incentive for states to adopt stricter sentencing and truth-in-sentencing laws. Aimee’s Law will hold states financially accountable for the tragic consequences of an early release which results in a violent crime being perpetrated on the citizens of another state. Specifically, this law will redirect enough federal crime fighting dollars from a state that has released early a murderer, rapist, or child molester to pay the prosecutorial and incarceration costs incurred by a state which has had to reconvict this released felon for a similar heinous crime. More than 14,000 murders, rapes and sexual assaults on children are committed each year by felons who have been released after serving a sentence for one of those very same crimes. About one in eight of these crimes occurs in a second state.
Santorum first offered Aimee's Law as an amendment to the Juvenile Justice bill on May 19, 1999, which passed the Senate by a 81-17 vote margin. Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ) also offered the legislation as an amendment in the House of Representatives on June 16, 1999, which passed by a 412-15 vote. Due to a lack of progress on the conference report it became necessary to move the legislation separately. On May 11, Santorum joined Gail Willard at a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, to urge the House to approve legislation separately to keep sexual predators behind bars. The House of Representatives subsequently passed the legislation again by a unanimous voice vote. The Senate passed Aimee’s Law on Oct. 11 of this year by a vote of 90-5.
“We are sending a clear message with Aimee’s Law,” said Santorum. “We want tougher sentences and we want truth in sentencing. A child molester who receives four years in prison, when you consider the recidivism rate, is an abomination. Murderers, rapists, and child molesters do not deserve early release; our citizens deserve to be protected. In this legislation we are protecting one state’s citizens from the complacency of another state, an appropriate role for the federal government.”
This legislation is endorsed by Gail Willard, Aimee’s mother, Marc Klass, Fred Goldman, and numerous organizations such as the National Fraternal Order of Police, and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America. 39 victims’ rights organizations also support Aimee’s Law including Justice For All, the National Association of Crime Victims' Rights, the Women's Coalition, and Kids Safe.
What does Aimee’s Law do?
- Provides additional funding to states that convict a murderer, rapist, or child molester, if that criminal had previously been convicted of one of those same crimes in a different state.
- Deducts the cost of prosecuting and incarcerating the criminal from the federal crime funds intended to go to the first state, and instead sends them to the state that obtained the second conviction.
- More than 14,000 murders, rapes, and sexual assaults are committed each year by previously convicted murderers and sex offenders. About one in eight of these completely preventable crimes occurs in a second state.*
- The average time served in state prison for rape is just 5 ½ years.*
- For child molestation, it is about 4 years.*
- And for murder, it is just 8 years.*
* Statistics are derived from four U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Statistics reports: “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983” (April 1989); “Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault” (February 1997); “Examining Recidivism” (February 1985); and “Prison Sentences and Time Served for Violence” (April 1995).
FOR A LIST OF ENDORSEMENTS OR SENATOR SANTORUM’S FLOOR STATEMENT, CONTACT MELISSA SABATINE AT (202) 224-6324.-###-
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