04222019CW0523SPRINGFIELD – People convicted of assault or battery in a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship would face stricter consequences under legislation carried by State Senator Rachelle Crowe.

Crowe, a Democrat from Glen Carbon, is pushing to add an aggravating factor to sentencing considerations for those who commit assault or battery when committed in religious settings.  

“The right to worship, free from fear, is sacred,” Crowe said. “We must not only condemn the recent attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues as the acts of terrorism they are, but seek more severe punishment for them.”

Aggravating factors can influence a court’s decision to include an imprisoning sentence or increase the chance for a more severe sentence.

This initiative continues the work of Senator Crowe’s predecessor, former State Senator Bill Haine. The legislation was inspired by a shooting that occurred at First Baptist Church in Maryville in 2009.

Current law distinguishes aggravated assault as a Class A misdemeanor and aggravated battery as a Class 3 felony. Crowe’s legislation would classify aggravated battery as a Class 1 felony when the accused causes great harm or permanent disability to a victim engaged in prayer or religious service.

House Bill 38 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for further consideration before the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

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