Prosecutors Want to Expand Child Abuse Crimes

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Prosecutors are asking the Montana Legislature to expand the list of child abuse crimes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee listened Thursday to the proposal that creates a new crime of criminal child endangerment. The measure was drafted by Montana county attorneys.

It would punish those who drive drunk with a child in the car, fail to get medical care for an apparent life-threatening condition, place a child in the care of a known abuser, deal dangerous drugs with children in the home, or fail to provide proper nutrition.

The new crime would carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and require registration as a violent offender.

Supporters say the new crimes are needed to intervene earlier in cases of abused children.

The panel did not take immediate action.

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