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19 Lawmakers sponsor "Refusal-to-Report" Bill to protect endangered children

February 1, 2012

Press Release by Rep. Shawn Lindsey, Bill co-sponsored by Rep. Bentz, Eyre, Buckley, Esquivel, Gelser, Huffman, Hunt, Kennemer, Sheehan, Sprenger, Weidner, Wingard, & Witt; and Senators Devlin, Girod, Monnes Anderson, Olsen, and Verger.

A bipartisan group of legislators have introduced legislation making it a crime for parents or guardians to knowingly fail to report the death or disappearance of a child. The bill has been introduced for the 2012 session as HB 4048 with Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro) as the chief sponsor.

Kaine Horman joined the bipartisan group of legislators in endorsing the bill. “This bill gives law enforcement an additional tool to help protect children, help locate missing children quickly, and deliver justice for young victims,” said Horman, father of missing child Kyron Horman. “I urge the Legislature to approve HB 4048 during the February legislative session. If passed into law, this measure will hold individuals accountable when they are complicit or directly involved in the death or disappearance of a child.”

HB 4048 establishes two Class C felonies of failing to report the death or disappearance of a child. Those convicted would face a maximum of five years in jail or a maximum fine of $125,000, or both. The legislation does not preclude prosecution of any role the parent or guardian may have played in the child’s disappearance. The bill includes safeguards to ensure the law is only applicable in certain cases where the parent or guardian reasonably knew the child was in danger and was the victim of a crime, yet failed to alert authorities.

“Reporting a child’s death or disappearance is the first thing a parent does when faced with such an emergency or tragedy,” Rep. Lindsay said. “Unfortunately, as we have recently seen in Washington State, Florida, and here in Oregon, this is not always the case. With the support of the community and the bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors, we should quickly approve this solution and provide additional protection for children.”

HB 4048 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the Legislature reconvenes for the 2012 session. HB 4048 is co-sponsored by Representatives Bentz, Eyre, Buckley, Esquivel, Gelser, Huffman, Hunt, Kennemer, Sheehan, Sprenger, Weidner, Wingard, and Witt; and Senators Devlin, Girod, Monnes Anderson, Olsen, and Verger.

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