One of several new Kentucky laws that go into effect Tuesday gets tougher on those convicted of sex crimes.
Those who work with children and are convicted of sex crimes will now face stiffer penalties.
“I have three teenagers of my own and that line should never be crossed, children at that age don't know how to make the decisions that as we get older adults know how to make the proper decision,” says Linda Brush of Breathitt County.
Teachers and coaches who have sex with a consenting 16 or 17 year old student will no longer be able to avoid prosecution, and will be charged with a felony. The student must be 18, a legal adult.
“I think they should be charged with a felony, because like is aid these children are not mature enough or able to make those decisions, and make good choices,” says Brush.
Brush says kids spend most of their day at school, forcing parents to trust those in charge. And trust is key.
“As educators we are entrusted with the public’s most precious commodity, their children, and I think we should be held to a higher standard,” says Anthony Little of Leslie County Schools.
If a minor becomes a victim of a misdemeanor sex crime, the new law increases the time the victim can report it to the age of 23.
“I'm not sure 16-year-olds are mature enough to make decisions such as engaging in inappropriate activities that could have such a devastating effect on their future,” says Little.
The public safety laws that go in effect Tuesday can also punish those who are aware of the crime but don't report it.
Little says it's important to protect our children, and give them a safe environment to learn in.
Several other laws also go into effect statewide Tuesday.
One requires stiffer penalties for those convicted in animal abuse cases.
Another creates a system that notifies the media when an Alzheimer’s patient is reported missing.
Also, children under seven will have to ride in booster seats.
And any child enrolled in public school is required to get a dental check-up.