Senate Sends Bill to President Designed to Keep Children Safe

Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced a critical step forward in putting $353.5 million to protect our nation’s children from predators and $28.1 billion for the Department of Justice to help fight crime and terrorism and protect communities in the federal checkbook.

The funds are included in the CJS Appropriations Bill, which was approved today by the Senate for a final time as part of Congress’ Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill. It now goes to the President to be signed into law.

“We have made some amazing progress over the years, starting out with billboards and milk cartons. But crimes have gotten more sophisticated, and we’ve had to become more sophisticated,” Mikulski said. “Our bill focuses the resources of the federal government on child predators like a laser. I will keep doing my part in this war against child predators to help keep our children safe.”

Mikulski has fought for increased funding to provide DOJ with the tools they need to prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes against children, including:

* $52.7 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Innocent Images program to catch deviants who use the Internet to prey on children and to break up international sex trafficking rings.
* $40 million to expand federal, state and local law enforcement efforts to protect our nation’s most vulnerable by locating missing children, and targeting, dismantling and prosecuting predatory child molesters and those who traffic in child pornography.
* $37 million to hire 50 new assistant U.S. Attorneys to prosecute sex offenders.
* $72 million for the U.S. Marshals, which includes $27.5 million to hire 150 new Deputy U.S. Marshals to track down and arrest fugitive sex offenders.
* $30 million to train state and local law enforcement to track down and arrest child predators stalking children on the Internet.
* $24 million for local law enforcement predator units to detect, apprehend and prosecute sex offenders who victimize children.
* $16 million for grants to school districts to keep kids safe at school with officers and equipment.
* $12.5 million for counseling, witness protection and relocation for victims of trafficking.
* $5 million for the FBI’s Innocence Lost program to rescue children forced into prostitution and sex trafficking.



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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  2. My name is Keith Smith. I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. It wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. It was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet, bucolic, suburban neighborhoods of Lincoln, Rhode Island.

    I was able to identify the guy and the car he was driving. Although he was arrested that night and indicted a few months later, he never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in Providence before his court date. 34 years later, no one has ever been charged with the crime.

    In the time between the night of my assault and the night he was murdered, I lived in fear. I was afraid he was still around town. Afraid he was looking for me. Afraid he would track me down and kill me. The fear didn’t go away when he was murdered. Although he was no longer a threat, the simple life and innocence of a 14-year-old boy was gone forever. Carefree childhood thoughts replaced with the unrelenting realization that my world wasn’t a safe place. My peace shattered by a horrific criminal act of sexual violence.

    Over the past 34 years, I’ve been haunted by horrible, recurring memories of what he did to me. He visits me in my sleep. There have been dreams–nightmares actually–dozens of them, sweat inducing, yelling-in-my-sleep nightmares filled with images and emotions as real as they were when it actually happened. It doesn’t get easier over time. Long dead, he still visits me, silently sneaking up from out of nowhere when I least expect it. From the grave, he sits by my side on the couch every time the evening news reports a child abduction or sex crime. I don’t watch America’s Most Wanted or Law and Order SVU, because the stories are a catalyst, triggering long suppressed emotions, feelings, memories, fear and horror. Real life horror stories rip painful suppressed memories out from where they hide, from that recessed place in my brain that stores dark, dangerous, horrible memories. It happened when William Bonin confessed to abducting, raping and murdering 14 boys in California; when Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered Megan Kanka in New Jersey; when Ben Ownby, missing for four days, and Shawn Hornbeck, missing for four years, were recovered in Missouri.

    Despite what happened that night and the constant reminders that continue to haunt me years later, I wouldn’t change what happened. The animal that attacked me was a serial predator, a violent pedophile trolling my neighborhood in Lincoln, Rhode Island looking for young boys. He beat me, raped me, and I stayed alive. I lived to see him arrested, indicted and murdered. It might not have turned out this way if he had grabbed one of my friends or another kid from my neighborhood. Perhaps he’d still be alive. Perhaps there would be dozens of more victims and perhaps he would have progressed to the point of silencing his victims by murdering them.

    Out of fear, shame and guilt, I’ve been silent for over three decades, sharing with very few people the story of what happened to me. No more. The silence has to end. The fear, the shame, the guilt have to go. It’s time to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my long-time friends and my family. It’s time to speak out to raise public awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help victims of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience. For those who suffer in silence, I hope my story brings some comfort, strength, peace and hope.

    Men in My Town is the story of my abduction, beating and rape and the unsolved brutal murder of the man who attacked me.

    For additional information visit the Men in My Town blog at

    Email the author at

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