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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

Rep. Ratcliffe bill passes House to combat child exploitation

May 22, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-Texas) bill to combat child exploitation passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Strengthening Children’s Safety Act of 2017 (H.R. 1842) boosts children’s safety by closing loopholes in the federal laws that punish sex offenders.

“There are few things more shocking to the conscience and sickening to the soul than crimes against children – the most innocent, most vulnerable members of our society. As a former federal prosecutor, I will always remember the child exploitation images I was forced to view from an evidentiary standpoint as the most disturbing and difficult part of my job,” Ratcliffe said.

“These horrific crimes against children should stick with us – they should haunt us – and then they should spur us to action. After all, we can talk all day long about fighting for the future of our country – but the reality is that our children are our future – and if we do anything here in Congress, it should be working to protect them. I’m grateful to my House colleagues for their strong support of my bill that will help us fulfil this important responsibility by ensuring that all dangerous sex offenders are properly punished.”

Click here to view Ratcliffe’s discussion with Trey Gowdy on his children’s safety bill.

The Strengthening Children’s Safety Act of 2017 closes two gaps in federal child exploitation laws to prevent offenders from eluding proper punishment. It accomplishes this by clarifying that offenders are not exempt from criminal penalties simply because of the type of court in which their crimes are convicted.

Specifically, Ratcliffe’s bill 1) closes the legal loophole that allows dangerous offenders to avoid facing enhanced imprisonment penalties for committing violent crimes under state law while also failing to properly register as a sex offender, and 2) closes the legal loophole that allows sex offenders to avoid facing steeper penalties if their previously committed sex offense arose under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

As a former U.S. Attorney, Ratcliffe’s prosecution and conviction of a Nacogdoches, Texas sheriff’s deputy for child sex crimes gained statewide acclamation. In Congress, he has continued his efforts to protect children through his work on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.