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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    113-286

======================================================================



 
              KILAH DAVENPORT CHILD PROTECTION ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

December 9, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3627]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3627) to require the Attorney General to report on 
State law penalties for certain child abusers, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5
Dissenting Views.................................................     6

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3627, the ``Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 
2013,'' directs the Justice Department to issue reports 
regarding the penalties for violations of laws prohibiting 
child abuse in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 
U.S. territories, including whether they provide enhanced 
penalties when the victim has suffered serious bodily injury, 
or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or 
emotional function. The bill also makes a technical change to 
18 U.S.C. Sec. 117 to allow prior convictions for the abuse of 
a child to trigger the Federal offense of domestic assault by 
an habitual offender in areas of the country where the Federal 
Government has increased responsibility--i.e., in Indian 
country, and the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    The Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013 is named 
after a young girl from North Carolina who was brutally beaten 
by her stepfather in May 2012. Kilah, who was three at the time 
of the attack, suffered a coma, a broken collarbone, a 
fractured skull, brain damage, and paralysis. Kilah's 
stepfather was charged with felony child abuse and faces 44 to 
92 months in prison. He is currently being held on a $1 million 
bond.
    Kilah's story, however, is not unique. Each year, an 
approximate 3.5 million cases of child abuse are reported, 
involving six million children.\1\ Children under the age of 
one are most likely to be victimized, and the vast majority of 
this abuse--an estimated 80 percent--is committed by 
parents.\2\ Studies have found that child abuse cases are less 
likely to have charges filed than most other felonies, and have 
lower incarceration rates than other crimes.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Child Abuse: Statistics and Facts, safehorizon, http://
www.safehorizon.org/index/what-we-do-2/child-abuse--incest-55/child-
abuse-statistics--facts-304.html.
    \2\Id.
    \3\Theodore P. Cross, Wendy A. Walsh, Monique Simone & Lisa M. 
Jones, Prosecution of Child Abuse: A Meta-Analysis of Rates of Criminal 
Justice Decisions, 4 Trauma, Violence & Abuse 323, 336 (discussing 
charges for child abuse versus other crimes).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The picture is even worse in Indian country, where Indian 
children experience child abuse at significantly higher rates 
than the rest of the population. One study estimates that 14 
Indian children per 1,000 are victims of abuse, as compared to 
9 per 1,000 non-Indian children.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Child Maltreatment in Indian Country, Native American Children's 
Alliance, http://www.nativechildalliance.org/Fact_Sheet.pdf .
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Because the majority of child abuse cases are handled at 
the state level, this bill will help to highlight how these 
cases are handled across the country by requiring the Justice 
Department to issue a report on the criminal penalties for 
child abuse in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 
U.S. territories. In addition, because there are some parts of 
the country where the Federal Government has an increased role 
to play in enforcing justice--such as Indian country and the 
special maritime and territorial jurisdiction--the Kilah 
Davenport Protection Act helps to strengthen the Federal 
response to child abuse, and all forms of domestic abuse, by 
allowing prior convictions for the abuse of a child to trigger 
the Federal offense of domestic assault by an habitual 
offender.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
3627.

                        Committee Consideration

    On December 4, 2013, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 3627 favorably reported without 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 3627.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 3627, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, December 9, 2013.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3627, the ``Kilah 
Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013.''
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member




        H.R. 3627--Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013.

      As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary 
                          on December 4, 2013.




    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3627 would have no 
significant cost to the Federal Government. Enacting the bill 
could affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-
you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any 
effects would be insignificant.
    H.R. 3627 would broaden the coverage of current laws that 
address domestic assaults by certain repeat offenders. As a 
result, the government might be able to pursue cases that it 
otherwise would not be able to prosecute. CBO expects that the 
bill would apply to a relatively small number of offenders, 
however, so any increase in costs for law enforcement, court 
proceedings, or prison operations would not be significant. Any 
such costs would be subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds.
    Because those prosecuted and convicted under H.R. 3627 
could be subject to criminal fines, the Federal Government 
might collect additional fines if the legislation is enacted. 
Criminal fines are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime 
Victims Fund, and later spent. CBO expects that any additional 
revenues and direct spending would not be significant because 
of the small number of cases likely to be affected.
    H.R. 3627 also would require the Department of Justice 
(DoJ) to prepare a report, within 180 days of the bill's 
enactment and again 3 years after enactment, on the penalties 
for child abuse in States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. 
territories. Based on the costs of similar activities currently 
carried out by DoJ, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3627 
would not have a significant effect on spending by the 
department.
    H.R. 3627 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of State, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 3627 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H.R. 3627 specifically directs 
to be completed no specific rule makings within the meaning of 
5 U.S.C. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
3627 directs the Department of Justice to issue reports on the 
penalties for violations of laws prohibiting child abuse in the 
50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, 
and amends 18 U.S.C. Sec. 117 to allow prior convictions for 
assault, acts of sexual abuse, or serious violent felonies 
against a child of the person or in the person's care to be 
used as prior convictions that trigger this offense.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 3627 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Short Title. This section cites the short title 
of the bill as the ``Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 
2013.''
    Section 2. Attorney General Report. This section requires 
the Department of Justice to issue a report within 180 day of 
enactment, and again 3 years thereafter, regarding the 
penalties for violations of laws prohibiting child abuse in the 
50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, 
including whether they provide enhanced penalties when the 
victim has suffered serious bodily injury, or permanent or 
protracted loss or impairment of any mental or emotional 
function.
    Section 3. Expansion of Predicate for Increased Penalties 
for Certain Domestic Assaults. This section amends 18 U.S.C. 
Sec. 117 (domestic assault by an habitual offender in the 
special maritime and territorial jurisdiction and in Indian 
country) to allow prior convictions for assault, acts of sexual 
abuse, or serious violent felonies against a child of the 
person or in the person's care to be used as prior convictions 
that trigger this offense.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italics and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART I--CRIMES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 7--ASSAULT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 117. Domestic assault by an habitual offender

    (a) In General.--Any person who commits a domestic assault 
within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the 
United States or Indian country and who has a final conviction 
on at least 2 separate prior occasions in Federal, State, or 
Indian tribal court proceedings for offenses that would be, if 
subject to Federal jurisdiction--
            (1) any assault, sexual abuse, or serious violent 
        felony against a spouse or intimate partner, or against 
        a child of or in the care of the person committing the 
        domestic assault; or

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            Dissenting Views

                              INTRODUCTION

    H.R. 3627 would allow prior convictions for assault, acts 
of sexual abuse, or serious violent felonies against a child of 
the person or in the person's care to be used to trigger 
sentences of up to 5 years or, if substantial bodily injury 
results, up to 10 years for habitual domestic abuse. The 
legislation also requires the Department of Justice to 
periodically report on the penalties for violations of laws 
prohibiting child abuse in the 50 states, the District of 
Columbia, and the U.S. territories. This bill would only apply 
the increased penalties to people within the special maritime 
and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in Indian 
country and would therefore have a negligible impact on child 
abuse. For this reason, and those stated below, I respectfully 
dissent.

                       DESCRIPTION AND BACKGROUND

    Child abuse is a serious and widespread problem. In 2011, 
approximately 681,000 children were victims of maltreatment, 
and approximately 3.3 million children received preventative 
services from Child Protective Services agencies in the United 
States.\1\ Furthermore, four to seven children die every day in 
America from abuse and neglect,\2\ and more than 78% of 
reported child fatalities as a result of abuse and neglect were 
caused by one or more of the child victim's parents.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 
Child Maltreatment 2011 (2012), available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/
sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf.
    \2\Id.; U.S. Government Accountability Office, Child maltreatment: 
strengthening national data on child fatalities could aid in prevention 
(GAO-11-599) (2011), available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/
d11599.pdf
    \3\Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 
Child Maltreatment 2011 (2012), available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/
sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to harming children directly, child abuse 
contributes to future crime. Children who experience child 
abuse and neglect are about 9 times more likely to become 
involved in criminal activity.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Long-Term 
Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect (2013), available at http://
www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_
consequences.cfm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 3627, the ``Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 
2013,'' was introduced by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) on 
December 2, 2013. No hearings have been held on the bill. As 
discussed above, the bill would allow prior convictions for 
assault, acts of sexual abuse, or serious violent felonies 
against a child of the offender or in the offender's care to be 
used to trigger penalties for habitual domestic abuse. It also 
includes a noncontroversial reporting requirement. The 
provision that increases penalties for habitual offenders is of 
concern for three reasons. First, the bill will apply to so few 
cases of child abuse that it will have a negligible effect; 
this bill only applies to offenses committed on Federal land 
and by people with two prior convictions. Second, the Judiciary 
Committee should have held a hearing on this bill to receive 
testimony about whether judges are being too lenient on three-
time child abuse offenders on Federal land. Without a hearing, 
the Committee has not established the requisite evidence to 
demonstrate that this bill is the most appropriate means of 
addressing the problem. Finally, Congress should focus its 
efforts on the prevention of child abuse through evidence-based 
prevention and intervention programs, not through the expansion 
of the Federal criminal law.

                        CONCERNS WITH H.R. 3627

        I. THE BILL WILL HAVE A NEGLIGIBLE EFFECT ON CHILD ABUSE

    The approach of H.R. 3627 is to allow sentences of up to 10 
years for those convicted for the third time for domestic abuse 
which, with this bill, will include child abuse. However, the 
bill only applies to those offenses committed in national 
parks, military bases, Indian country, and on other Federal 
land. That means that of all of the cases of child abuse 
committed nationally, this bill unfortunately reaches only a 
negligible portion of the cases--those committed on Federal 
land by people with two prior offenses.
    Moreover, by increasing the penalties for third offenses, 
this bill implies that Federal judges are not appropriately 
sentencing defendants convicted for a third time of these 
heinous offenses.

 II. THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE SHOULD HAVE HELD A HEARING ON THIS ISSUE 
                    BEFORE PASSING THIS LEGISLATION

    As described above, child abuse is a serious problem, and 
in order to determine the appropriateness of expanding Federal 
criminal laws in this area, the Judiciary Committee should have 
had a hearing on this issue. We have received no evidence 
suggesting that Federal judges impose such lenient sentences on 
these third-time offenders that the offenders keep getting 
released from prison and abusing again. Further, we have 
received no evidence that this bill would have even applied to 
the Kilah Davenport case, which does not appear to have 
occurred on Federal land or have been committed by a third-time 
offender.

        III. CONGRESS SHOULD FOCUS ON PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE

    If our goal is to actually reduce the ravages of child 
abuse, we should not limit our efforts to the negligible number 
of prosecutable cases involving third offenses, and on Federal 
lands. Most child abuse is not reported at all, and many cases 
that are reported are difficult to prosecute because family 
members may be unwilling to testify against one another. 
Instead, Congress needs to focus Federal efforts on supporting 
programs that will prevent these crimes from happening in the 
first place.
    Congress should enact the type of meaningful legislation 
proven to actually reduce child abuse--and save money in the 
process--like nurse family partnerships. Nurse family 
partnerships are an evidence-based community health program 
that provide home visits from registered nurses to low-income, 
first-time moms from pregnancy until the child turns 2 years 
old.\5\ In medical and scientific journals, nurse family 
partnerships are most often cited as the most effective 
intervention to prevent child abuse and neglect.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Nurse Family Partnership, Overview Fact Sheet, available at 
http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/assets/PDF/Fact-sheets/
NFP_Overview.aspx.
    \6\Nurse Family Partnership, Research Trials and Outcomes Fact 
Sheet, available at http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/assets/PDF/
Fact-sheets/NFP_Research_Outcomes.aspx.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         IV. AMENDMENT OFFERED

    I offered an amendment to remove the criminal penalties 
from H.R. 3627, which would have alleviated the concerns 
discussed above. If the amendment had been accepted, the bill 
would have required only the report from the Attorney General 
on the penalties for violations of laws prohibiting child abuse 
in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. 
territories. The amendment failed by voice vote.

                               CONCLUSION

    Although child abuse is a serious problem, we have not 
established the requisite evidence to demonstrate that this 
bill is the most appropriate means of addressing the problem.
    For the foregoing reasons, I respectfully dissent.

                                   Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott.