Sex crimes bill could be on Senate floor by next week

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A bill designed to crack down on sex crimes against children is expected to be up for debate in the Vermont Senate soon – possibly by next week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has been working on legislation developed during a series of hearings in the months following last June’s abduction, rape and killing of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett of Braintree.

The bill contains some three dozens provisions, among them an expansion of Vermont’s DNA database, new sex crime prevention programs and provisions designed to protect victims from having to testify both in pretrial sworn statements and at trial.

A key provision is a new charge of aggravated sexual assault against a person less than 16, which would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.

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