Sex offenders could be banned from nature and education centers in Missouri

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Missouri lawmakers are making a move they say will help protect kids.

The bill is seeking to add the Conservation Department’s Nature and Educational Centers to the list of places that child sex offenders are banned from.

If passed, any child sex offenders that come closer than five-hundred feet could be charged with a felony.

The bill is being sponsored by representative Hannah Kelly, who’s from Mountain Grove.

She says the Department of Conservation asked her for help after realizing child sex offenders were able to go onto the government-funded property and walk around even though children were there. Authorities couldn’t do anything about it.

Kelly says the legislation isn’t changing who the restrictions apply to, but rather adding to the list of where some sex offenders cannot go.

Rep. Hannah Kelly House District 141 says, “These are state-funded properties, and we have a responsibility to ensure and well-being to protect these children as they access and leave these state-funded properties. And if somebody is going to be a perpetrator of a sex crime against a child, we need to make sure that if they were to commit that horrendous act that there are teeth there to punish them so that anyone who might even be entertaining any thought out there in the universe would say ‘hey, this is a bad idea.'”

Kelly says there are already changes being made to the bill that would allow registered sex offenders who are parents to go along to programs with their kids to the nature center or education center if they get prior permission.

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