Senate OKs bill protecting minors

Mar 7 2012 - 11:00pm

SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill inspired by an incident last year in Weber County dealing with the unlawful detention of a minor has advanced to the governor's desk.

Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, House Bill 159 was approved unanimously Wednesday morning by the Senate with little discussion.

The measure creates the offense of unlawful detention when a person 18 years or older coerces a minor to stay with him or her without the consent of the minor's parent or guardian.

The bill was inspired by an incident in Weber County last year when a 14-year-old girl was held against her will by a 26-year-old man.

Because the victim did not ask to be taken home, the older man could not be charged under existing guidelines.

Wilcox said the bill was initiated at the behest of a Weber County attorney and the Children's Justice Center.

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