Home / Houston News / Gov. Abbott unveils plan to target sex criminals, eliminate rape-kit backlog

Gov. Abbott unveils plan to target sex criminals, eliminate rape-kit backlog

Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a new $40 million plan that would change the way state law and police agencies combat sex crime, including sexual harassers at the Texas Capitol, child predators, and human traffickers while protecting the victims.

The Governor’s proposal, announced Tuesday in Houston, would represent a significant change to state criminal laws and enforcement of sex crimes, and is the latest move by Texas officials to curb the continuing scourge of human trafficking, which researchers have found impacts thousands of underage victims across the state.

“Texas must do more to protect the survivors of these crimes and to punish the perpetrators,” Abbott said at a press event for law enforcement, legislators and community advocates at Harris County’s Children’s Assessment Center.

The governor highlighted the case of former United Airlines pilot Bruce Wallis, who was convicted in 2017 of running and profiting from a string of brothels in Harris County and sentenced to probation, a $2,000 fine and 150 hours of community service.

The governor also referenced a recent KHOU television investigation that showed that two-thirds of defendants charged with sex-trafficking offenses between June 2014 and December 2016 received probation instead of jail or prison time.

“The penalties for promoting prostitution are simply too lenient,” Abbott said. “Anyone who commits these crimes should be behind bars, but the fact of the matter, far too often, is that criminals who promote prostitution are right back out on the streets with little more than a slap on the wrist.”

Abbott proposed that the punishment for running a prostitution operation be incarceration and said offenders should be forced register as sex offenders upon their release. And he proposed allowing trafficking victims the opportunity to clear their records if they were forced to engage in sex crimes

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