– Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s (R-Centre/Mifflin) legislation to prohibit those charged with sex offenses against children from being placed into the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, or ARD as it is more commonly known, was signed into law today.
The ARD program is designed to give a first-time offender a “second chance” by avoiding the consequences of being convicted of a crime. Under the ARD program, if a defendant successfully completes a period of supervision and follows the requirements imposed by the court, the case is dismissed.
“The law is now crystal clear,” Benninghoff said. “Predators that sexually assault children will never avoid prosecution. The safety and well-being of our children is far too important to be left to chance.”
First introduced in early 2015, Benninghoff’s legislation, then House Bill 623
, first gained unanimous support in the House of Representatives on Oct. 7, 2015, but was not taken up for consideration by the Senate. Still committed to the cause, Benninghoff reintroduced the legislation as House Bill 594 at the beginning of the new legislative session beginning in January 2017.
The bill, once again, gained unanimous support in the House on April 3, 2017. Last week, on June 20, it also gained the unanimous support of the Senate.
“As a state, we have a moral obligation to do everything within our authority to keep predators off the street and away from our children,” Benninghoff said. “Today, parents can be assured that Pennsylvania law does more to ensure the protection of our kids.”
Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner