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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Assembly passes Rep. McEntee and Sen. Raptakis’ child endangerment bill
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today passed Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee and Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis’ legislation (
) which would establish felony penalties for guardians convicted of child endangerment.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and they need to be protected from the dangers of this world by their parents or guardians. A parent or guardian who ignores or abandons their vital role of protector needs to be held accountable, especially if the worst were to happen and the child in their care is endangered, hurt or abused. It is sad that this legislation is necessary but as we see in the news all too frequently, too many guardians still simply look the other way when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of the children under their protection,” said Representative McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).
“Any parent or guardian who willingly ignores their duty to protect the children in their care deserves to be punished for risking the health and safety of the child. Too often, tragedies occur and the neglectful parent or guardian suffers a slap on the wrist, if any punishment at all. The legislation will also allow law enforcement officers to hold habitual offenders accountable for leaving children unattended in cars for long periods of time, hopefully protecting more kids in the state from abuse, neglect or endangerment,” said Senator Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich).
The bill would establish criminal penalties for a wanton or reckless act or omission of a parent, guardian or any other person who has custody or control of a child, where those acts or omissions result in substantial risk of serious bodily injury to the child or sexual abuse of a child in their care.
The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of the risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.
Any person who violates the act would be found guilty of a felony, and for the first offense, be imprisoned up to three years or be fined not exceeding $1,000, or both.
The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request