Local Women Seek Stiffer Penalties for Sex Offenses

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Published on August 20 2012 3:18 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Edna Bell said she was a victim of sexual abuse when she was a child and is still dealing with the aftermath.  Now, she says her kindergarten age daughter has suffered the same experience and said it's time to fight back.

Bell, now 39, said she was eight years old when she was victimized by a 17-year-old boy.  She said the boy was told that he could not be around her until she was 18 and she went into foster care.

(EDNA BELL HOLDS A SIGN SEEKING STIFFER PENALTIES FOR SEX OFFENDERS)

The case involving her daughter is still pending.  The suspect is a 15-year-old boy.  Bell said charges have been filed, but said they just don't seem sufficient to keep such crimes from happening.

Bell and some friends who either have been victims of sexual abuse or know someone who has were standing in front of the old Courthouse in downtown Effingham Monday morning.  They bore brightly colored signs asking passersby to contact their state legisators in an effort to stiffen penalties.

Bell's point is that if someone is forced to engage in a sex act, those who are forcing them should be punished regardless of their age.  She said it typically seems that probation is the common punishment for underage offenders and that it doesn't show up on their record once they reach adulthood.

Bell said she and the others gathered for the event find others who routinely say they were victims or know of someone who was a victim.