Our daughter Sierra Landry was killed by her abusive ex-boyfriend.
An Order of Protection could have saved her life, but according to South Carolina law, she was too young to get one.
Teenagers who commit violence with a romantic partner could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison under a bill discussed Wednesday by a Senate subcommittee.
Making violence in teen dating situations a felony is needed to address a history of domestic violence in South Carolina, advocates say.
Half a dozen students from Ridge View High School in Richland County spoke in favor of the bill – called the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Act.
The bill defines teen dating violence as “physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence between persons 18 years of age or younger within a dating relationship.” The proposed charge would not replace assault or rape charges – someone suspected of those crimes could also be charged with teen dating violence in certain situations. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said he supports the impetus behind the bill – addressing violence in teen relationships – but that some specifics need to be ironed out before the bill moves forward.
“Talking about creating an emotional assault, if you will, or emotional harm, that’s a very difficult thing to try and prove,” Hembree said.
But Crolley began calling our home, cussing at us, threatening us, and demanding to speak with Sierra. No matter where Sierra went, it seemed Crolley was there or not far behind.
“The penalty of the crime is severe, in addition to whatever the underlying penalty of the base crime was,” Hembree said.
“Let’s say it was assault and battery, (and) it’s a 30-day offense – it just turned into a 10-year (and) 30-day offense.” In addition to concerns about the penalty, Hembree said the bill’s current language is too vague.
He also worked the other side of the courtroom as a prosecutor from 1999 to 2013, during his time as solicitor for Horry and Georgetown counties.
He also said he was concerned that the bill says anyone convicted of the teen dating violence charge would not be eligible for pre-trial intervention.