Hearings begin on sex crime penalties

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The probation officer who supervised the man accused of abducting 12-year-old Brooke Bennett says he felt compelled to recommend the release of Michael Jacques from probation on an earlier conviction.

Richard Kearney told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Jacques had completed his prison term, sex offender treatment and other requirements of probation for the 1992 aggravated assault conviction.

Yesterday’s testimony came as the legislative committee opened a series of hearings on how the state can toughen its sex offender laws following the girl’s abduction and death.

The committee is investigating what went wrong in the Jacques case and what the state can do to better protect its children.

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