Union representatives urge approval of Kilah’s Law

Representatives from Union County came together this week to voice their support for House Bill 75 – which would increase punishments faced by child abusers in North Carolina.

Representatives and senators in the N.C. House spoke out Thursday, Feb. 14, in support of Kilah’s Law. The bill, named in honor of an Indian Trail girl who was seriously injured in an act of child abuse, would increase the amount of time a convicted child abuser can spend in jail in North Carolina. Kilah Davenport is currently recovering at home from life-threatening injuries that included brain damage. Her stepfather is in jail under a $1 million bond awaiting trial. If convicted of the crimes, he could be sentenced to as many as 92 months in prison.

The bill, also known as Kilah’s Law, is named for Kilah Davenport – the young Indian Trail girl who received brain damage and other serious injuries while in the care of her stepfather, who is now in jail charged with inflicting her injuries and could face as many as 92 months behind bars. The law, if passed, would increase the maximum sentence for child abuse crimes in the state to 25 years to life in prison.

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Rep. Craig Horn spoke with other state leaders – including Union County’s Rep. Dean Arp, Sen. Jeff Tarte and Sen. Tommy Tucker, among others – supporting the law.

“I have worked closely with Kilah and her family over the last several months on this issue,” Horn, who co-sponsored the bill, said. “The co-sponsors and I have reached out to law enforcement and court officials to discuss the most impactful ways to increase punishment against people who harm children. I am honored to carry this legislation and I look forward to its passage.”

The bill also has a lot of support at home, where advocates like Jeff Gerber have collected more than 10,000 signatures supporting passage. Indian Trail’s Mayor Mike Alvarez also has worked in support of the bill.

“The support is astronomical,” Gerber said in an interview last week. “There’s a very true possibility that in three to four weeks we will have Kilah’s Law.”

The bill currently is in subcommittee and will have to work its way before a full House vote if it’s to be passed. There isn’t a set timeline for when that will happen.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our children,” Horn said on Thursday, “and this bill is an effort to do just that. I am honored to work to pass it into law.”

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