CHAPTER 600

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 346

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO UNLAWFUL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

WHEREAS, illicit sexual activity between adult males and teenage girls is contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in Delaware and the nation; and

WHEREAS, roughly 12 percent of all babies born in this state arc born by teenage girls;

and

WHEREAS, from 1991-1993 there were 609 babies in Delaware by girls 16 1/2 years old or less; and

WHEREAS, nationally, 39 percent of 15-year-old mothers report the fathers of their babies are 20 years old or older; and

WHEREAS, many of these adult males are repeat offenders who have fathered more than one child by different teenage mothers, yet accepted little or no responsibility for their actions of for the support of their children; and

WHEREAS, in the United States, one in every 16 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years has a child. In Delaware, approximately one in every eight children are born to a teenage mother; and

WHEREAS, $ 69 million was spent on the consequences of teen pregnancy in Delaware in 1993; and

WHEREAS, society can no longer ignore or disregard statutory rape and the consequent increase in teenage pregnancies. The laws prohibiting adults from having sexual relations with persons under the age of 16 years must be more vigorously enforced; and

WHEREAS, adult males who have sexual intercourse with minor girls must be held more accountable for their conduct and must be required to accept responsibility under current law for their actions; and

WHEREAS, the State should impose more severe sanctions when the adult male is significantly older than the victim; and

WHEREAS, our state agencies and schools must recognize these cases as child abuse cases and make appropriate referrals to law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, it is the intent of the General Assembly to enhance the penalty for statutory rape when an adult is 10 years or older than the victim or when the victim is under the age of 14 and to make certain our current law prohibiting sexual intercourse with minor children by adults is rigorously enforced.

NOW THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY TI IE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

Section 1. This Act shall be referred to as the "Sexual Predator Act of 1996."

Section 3. Amend § 773, Title 11, Delaware Code, by deleting "." in subsection 2 and inserting "; or" and by inserting as new subsection (3) the following:

"(3) The victim is less than 16 years of age and the person is 10 years or older than the victim or the victim is less than 14 years old and the person is 19 years of age or older and is not otherwise subject to prosecution under § 775."

Section 4. Amend § 773, Title 11, Delaware Code by inserting after the words "Class C. Felony" as found in the Title of said section the words "; Class B Felony" and by inserting in the section after the words "Class C Felony" and before the "." the words "unless the person is guilty pursuant to subsection (3) of this section in which case Unlawful Sexual Intercourse in the third degree is a Class B Felony. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary, in cases where acts in violation of this section have resulted in the birth of a child who is in the custody and care of the victim or the victim's legal guardians, the court shall order that the Defendant, as a condition of any probation imposed pursuant to a conviction under this section, timely pay any child support ordered by the Family Court for such child."

Section 5. The Attorney General's Office, the Department of Health and Social Services. the Department of Services to Children Youth and Their Families, the Department of Public Instruction and law enforcement agencies statewide will establish a cooperative agreement, specifying the various roles each agency will play in making certain our laws governing unlawful sexual intercourse with minors are rigorously enforced. The Department of Public Safety. with cooperation from the above referenced agencies, shall report to the Governor and the General Assembly on enforcement efforts pursuant to this Act by June 1, 1998.

Approved August 1. 1996