Adults who French kiss a child younger than 13 would be required to register as a sex offender under legislation passed
out of the General Assembly on Saturday.
Those convicted of tongue-kissing a child would be guilty of a Class
1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The House passed the legislation 96-1 and the Senate
39-0. It now heads to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.
Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, introduced the legislation on behalf of a woman whose 10-year-old daughter was French-kissed
by the 62-year-old husband of her babysitter. The only crime prosecutors could charge the man with was contributing to the
delinquency of a minor, which did not require that he register as a sex offender.
Ingram and other members
of the House fought to make the crime a felony, but in the final day of the 2008 General Assembly session gave in to senators
who thought that punishment was too harsh.
Del. Phillip Hamilton, R-Newport News, cast the lone opposing vote,
refusing to back down from his belief that the crime should be a Class 6 felony.
"I think that type of behavior
is so egregious it warrants a felony," Hamilton said.
Ingram said he was satisfied that a conviction would
land someone on the sex offender registry.