FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/14/2015
The Texas House of Representative Passes House Bill 207 by Representative Leach to Crack Down on Sexual Offenders
This week, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 207, authored by Representative Jeff Leach, which is crafted to crack down on the offense of voyeurism by providing stricter penalties for repeat offenders.
"I am proud that the Texas House has come together and unanimously supported my House Bill 207, a substantive step forward aimed at addressing a crime that is so often overlooked, yet so detrimental to the safety of our neighborhoods," stated Representative Leach.
Voyeurism is widely considered by law enforcement to be one of the most common gateway offenses to other sexual crimes, including violent sex crimes, and reports have shown that most voyeurism offenses are committed by repeat offenders. Under current law, the offense is treated as a form of "Disorderly Conduct" and is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. These offenses are generally not well documented and are not effectively shared by local law enforcement agencies across the state, thus compromising the process of tracking repeat offenders. Further, as the law reads now, there is little incentive for voyeur offenders to end this type of behavior because it is not clearly identified on the offender’s record and the penalty is the lowest form of misdemeanor offenses. House Bill 207 seeks to address both concerns by creating the offense of “Voyeurism” in the TEXAS PENAL CODE while increasing the current penalty on the third offense.
House Bill 207 is supported by the Texas Municipal Police Association and the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County. Dan Powers, Sr. Vice President and Clinical Director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County stated, "We applaud and appreciate Representative Leach's commitment to the safety and well-being of our community. Rep. Leach's House Bill 207 enhances the protection of children and families by identifying potential sex offenders in our community that in the past, have slipped through the cracks.”
Representative Leach serves House District 67 in the Texas House of Representatives, representing portions of Plano, Allen, Richardson and Dallas in Collin County. Leach serves on the House Committee on Government Transparency & Operation and the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
CONTACT: Mary McClure