January 25, 2002 at 5:51 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 3:12 AM
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A bill introduced in the state Legislature calls for an automatic life sentence for anyone convicted of raping a child younger than 10 years old.
The bill introduced on Thursday by Rep. John Widowfield, a Cuyahoga Falls Republican, is meant to eliminate the need for prosecutors to prove force was involved in a rape. Widowfield said that the bill is common sense, since the rape of any child would be by force.
More than one-third of House members already have signed on as co-sponsors.
Under current state law, offenders convicted of raping a child under 13 carries a maximum prison sentence of three to 10 years if the element of force isn't proven.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)