A Kansas City, Kan., lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create an added penalty in child abuse cases in the wake of the death of a young boy who had been tortured and abused in his family’s home.
Rep. Louis Ruiz, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat, introduced Adrian’s Act on Friday.
Ruiz said he and other members of the Wyandotte County delegation felt they should take responsibility and try to help.
“We can’t stop everything from happening,” Ruiz said. “But at least we could put laws in the books that people know that they can be held culpable if they witness this type of abuse.”
In Adrian’s case, authorities believe the 7-year-old starved to death after months of torture and abuse. During that time, it’s believed that a relative of the young boy’s father lived in the home and did not report how Adrian was being treated. That person has not been charged with a crime.
In an in-depth report titled “Nana’s Nightmare,” The Star revealed earlier this week that the Kansas City, Kan., house where Adrian lived with his family was equipped with more than 30 surveillance cameras. The abuse he suffered for months was captured in screen shots and short clips. The photos also include one of the pigs that Adrian’s body was fed to sometime in the early fall of 2015.
Judy Conway, Adrian’s grandmother, said Friday morning that she’s grateful the bill was introduced.
“It’s just one way that his legacy will hopefully prevent another child from being abused,” Conway told The Star. “If you witness child abuse, I don’t care if you’re a mandated reporter or not, we should report these things.”
Ruiz said the bill would make family members or adults living in a household where there was severe abuse culpable. The bill would require those people, under the proposed law, to intervene somehow and report the abuse, Ruiz said.
Ruiz said he’d like to see the penalty for violating the proposed law to be “a low-level felony, at least.”
There is not a physical copy of the bill available yet, and it’s unclear if the bill will have enough support to pass this session.