Legislator proposes child abuse registry - WNEM TV 5

Legislator proposes child abuse registry

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Tonight, children, many of them at-risk and abused, are putting the final touches on routines.

They’re getting a special moment at their big dance in Saginaw.

They’re Elijah’s Warriors, named in memory of 6-year-old Elijah Dillard.

"Never, we never want to hear that story again, we never want to hear any child go near that story," said Omarr Dillard.

In 2014, Elijah was murdered in a brutal case of child abuse by his step father.

"Our mission is prevention before destruction," Ta-Tanesha Dillard said.

He was Omarr and Ta-Tanesha Dillard's nephew. After his death, the couple formed Elijah's Angels, an advocacy group to be involved and help prevent another tragedy.

"We are looking for any and every tool we can incorporate that represents that word prevention," Omarr Dillard said.

State Rep. Vanessa Guerra said she's behind a tool that would help.

She's co-sponsored legislation that would create a child abuse registry database, similar to the sex offender registry.

"They're vulnerable and they need somebody to be their voice," Guerra said.

The bill would require convicted child abusers to register on the database, with the degree of seriousness posted.

"Parents have the right to know who their child is being introduced to," Guerra said.

The idea is getting praise by some in the law enforcement community.

"If you know someone's been convicted of child abuse, yes, you could save that child's life," said Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel.

Protecting young lives is something the Dillard's know the importance of all too well.     

"If we're not doing everything as a whole to stress, to push, to force prevention, then we're not working to save these children's lives. We’re not protecting the next potential greatness," Omarr Dillard said.

While the bill in its infancy, part of the stipulations include those required to register would pay a $50 annual fee to help with the cost of the database.

Guerra said the length convicts must stay on the registry would also depend on the seriousness of the crime.

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