TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Legislation that aims to improve the prosecution of indecent exposure passed through committee stops in the Florida Senate and House on Tuesday.
The bill, SB 1018, aims to improve the ability of law enforcement to investigate and act without delay to apprehend a suspect before they re-offend or escalate their acts. It also escalates penalties, allowing for a more significant prosecution for individuals who show a pattern of this behavior. Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) and Representative Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) backed the bills.
“We know that when violators get away with this type of act, they often feel emboldened to continue,” said Stewart. “We want to give law enforcement the tools they need in order to stop this type of behavior in its tracks.”
Currently, indecent exposure reportedly is a felony if the victim is under 16. Otherwise, it is just a misdemeanor. These bills aim to stop this.
“Without this legislation we are purposely allowing lewd and lascivious crimes to occur based on the age of the victims,” said Mercado.
“This bill will give law enforcement additional tools to act swiftly against those who victimize our residents and visitors with these disturbing lewd acts,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina. “We appreciate Senator Stewart and Representative Mercado stepping up to help us further protect Floridians.”
This story was written in Orlando, Florida.