Early, lawmakers push runaway bill; Harboring minors could lead to charges.Byline: Milton J. Valencia
WORCESTER - During his first month in office, District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. has teamed with local legislators to propose a bill that encourages criminal charges for people who harbor runaway children.
The bill stems from meetings the new district attorney has had with Juvenile Court juvenile court
Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial officials, who noted loopholes in state laws that allow individuals to prey on To take prey from; to despoil; to pillage; to rob
To seize as prey; to take for food by violence; to seize and devour.
To wear away gradually; to cause to waste or pine away; as, the trouble preyed upon his mind s>.
See also: Prey Prey Prey children. In some cases, police have found runaways living with adults in shady motels, where the children may be persuaded to commit illegal acts. But authorities had little power to bring any criminal charges, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Timothy J. Connolly, spokesman for the district attorney's office.
The proposed bill would be an amendment to an existing crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor Any action by an adult that allows or encourages illegal behavior by a person under the age of 18, or that places children in situations that expose them to illegal behavior. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor can be as simple as keeping a child home from school and thus, .
"Unfortunately, in the real world, kids do run away and they are vulnerable to the advances of people who may seem to be their friends but who really intend to do them great harm," Mr. Early said in a statement. "This bill allows us to get tough with those who would take advantage of these kids."
Massachusetts has no law against harboring runaway children, according to the district attorney. The proposed bill calls for a one-year jail sentence jail sentence jail n → peine f de prison and up to a $500 fine for anyone who knowingly and willfully willfully adv. referring to doing something intentionally, purposefully and stubbornly. Examples: "He drove the car willfully into the crowd on the sidewalk." "She willfully left the dangerous substances on the property." (See: willful) conceals or harbors a juvenile who has run away from home.
Mr. Early teamed with state Rep. Jennifer L. Flanagan, D-Leominster, and state Sen. Edward M. Augustus Jr., D-Worcester, in sponsoring the bill.
"Police officers are often frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: when they find a runaway child living with a strange adult," Ms. Flanagan said in a statement. "There is really no way for the officers to compel a confused child to leave this dangerous situation. With this change in the law, officers will have another tool to protect children."
Mr. Augustus added: "Kids who are on the run and scared can be vulnerable to sexual predators and con artists whose only interest is to use these kids for their own gain. With this change in the law, police departments across the commonwealth will have another option in charging these individuals."