Senate Votes to Prohibit ARD for Sex Offenders, Moving Plan to Governor’s Desk

(HARRISBURG) – The State Senate today unanimously approved a plan to prohibit ARD for sex offenders, according to Senator Jake Corman (R-34). The action sends the bill to the Governor for his consideration.

HB 594 prohibits those charged with certain child sex offenses including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or aggravated indecent assault from receiving sentences of accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD). Currently, the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure provides prosecutors with discretion to recommend any defendant, including child sexual predators, for ARD.

“This bill places limitations on who receives ARD so we can work to protect our children,” Senator Corman said. “I urge the Governor to sign this bill that will prevent child predators from having additional opportunities to harm our children by having their records wiped clean.”

The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-171). With Senate passage, the bill heads to the Governor for his consideration.

“ARD is intended to allow first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid having a permanent record following a one-time mistake,” Senator Corman said. “But the future of our children is not something we can risk because the offender’s record was cleared through ARD.”

 CONTACT: Jenn Kocher (717) 787-1377 or jkocher@pasen.gov