'The Manifestation of Evil': DeSantis Signs 5 Bills Targeting Pedophiles

'The Manifestation of Evil': DeSantis Signs 5 Bills Targeting Pedophiles

DeSantis signed five new bills into law cracking down on pedophiles and child molesters throughout the state

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 10, 2024

SAINT PETERSBURG, FL—Five new bills cracking down on pedophiles were signed into law Wednesday, which increase penalties for child groomers, provide funds for catching online molesters, and create new training requirements for law enforcement officers.

"In Florida, we stand for the wellbeing and the innocence of our children," Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a Saint Petersburg press conference, hosting his bill signing at the Urban Stillhouse. "We want kids to just be kids, and when you have adults that are looking to harm them we've got to step in and we've got to protect them."

DeSantis signed five bills addressing different areas of sexual abuse and violence against children and vulnerable adults. HB 1545 makes it a second-degree felony to groom a child—which involves communicating with a minor for future purposes of sexual abuse—and raises the felony level for possession of child pornography.

Another bill, HB 1131, provides a $10 million grant to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in creating online sting operations to track down and punish online pedophiles.


"It's our very own grant program to catch a predator," DeSantis said, referencing the popular How to Catch a Predator TV show in which over 100 pedophiles were caught and imprisoned.

He also signed SB 1224, which expands the training requirements for law enforcement dealing with domestic violence situations. The bill was formed after Florida resident Gaby Petito was murdered by her fiance. Petito had encountered law enforcement before her death, but the officers did not pick up on the signs that she was in grave danger.

The other bills, HB 1235 and HB 305, respectively create stricter guidelines for sexual offender registrations and expand the types of evidence that can be presented to a jury in child sexual abuse cases.

"They are the manifestation of evil," Dave Kerner, the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said Wednesday morning. "All of these bills put together enhance enforceability and accountability and amplify prevention and detection that needs to occur to keep our children safe."

Last year, DeSantis signed a bill allowing the death penalty for child rapists. This new slew of anti-pedophile bills, he says, will be the second "bookend" on Florida's protection of minors.

Related Posts

Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Florida is reading.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


More Related Posts