Mo. House backs measure aimed at child sex abuse

Mar 6, 2013

Missouri House members have given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at helping child sex abuse prosecutions.

The measure would let prosecutors introduce evidence of past crimes to corroborate a victim's testimony or to demonstrate someone has an inclination to commit the alleged crime. Such evidence would be limited to prosecutions of sexual crimes that involve a victim younger than 16.

Supporters say federal courts and many states allow that type of evidence. The Missouri Supreme Court previously has ruled it violates the state constitution.

In January, a Missouri child sex abuse task force recommended the constitutional amendment.

House members endorsed the proposal Wednesday, and it needs another vote to move to the Senate. Ultimately, voters would decide its fate.