State Senate bill seeks to ban sex offenders from babysitting in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A bill on the move at the Indiana Statehouse would close a perceived loophole in state law by prohibiting sexually violent predators and offenders against children from working as childcare providers or babysitters.

Several parents discussing the bill were surprised to learn the ban wasn’t already part of Indiana law.

“I don’t understand why this wouldn’t be a law that’s already in effect,” said Kara Frazier, a mother of a preschooler.

“I would think that if someone was convicted of that, they shouldn’t be able to work in that specific area,” said Joanna Pasley, also a mother of a preschool age child.

Senate Bill 258, authored by Senator Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, would also prohibit convicted sex offenders from advertising babysitting services by use of social media and other means.

“I think there’re plenty of opportunities for them to get work elsewhere that’s not around children,” said Kyle Henne, father of two preschool age boys. “We need to protect our kids.”

Mrvan authored the bill after Madison County authorities realized they didn’t have legal authority to re-arrest 26-year-old Anthony Carmack last year. Carmack has been on Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry since 2013 after being convicted in a child pornography and exploitation case. Last fall, authorities learned Carmack was advertising babysitting services on Facebook.

While convicted sex offenders are already prohibited from working at schools, youth centers and public parks, there is no specific restriction on offenders working as babysitters. Mrvan and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office discussed the issue and agreed the law needed to be updated.

The case has also renewed warnings for parents to always check Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry and Child Abuse Registry before allowing a babysitter into their home.

“Just thinking of my two boys, I would never want them exposed to someone who had had an offense like that,” Henne said. “We’re very protective, so it’s very important for us to know them well.”

“All the people we’ve had come to our house, we know personally,” Frazier said. “But even so, we do a thorough check and make sure that there’s no background history.”

Senate Bill 258 passed unanimously out of the Senate Family and Children Services committee. The next step for the bill would be a hearing before the full Senate, where possible amendments could be heard. That hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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