Friday, July 21, 2006

Senate OKs sex-offender registry

Abuse: The national database bill, expected to become law Thursday, also would crack down on failures to register

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to approve the creation of a national sex offender registry and establishment of tough new prison sentences for offenders that fail to keep their listing current.

A child predator who kills a victim during commission of a sex crime could receive the death penalty under the act.

"We're going to get tough on these people," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Senate sponsor of the legislation, which he said would "curtail the ability of sex offenders to operate freely."

The House is expected to pass the legislation next week, and President Bush has said he will sign it Thursday, the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of Adam Walsh, for whom the bill was named. Walsh was the 6-year-old son of John Walsh, who created "America's Most Wanted" after his son was abducted and who was hailed by senators for his advocacy for the legislation.