A recent amendment to the Nebraska statutes provides that whosoever should debauch the person or deprave the morals of a minor; fondle a child under 16 in a lewd manner; or expose his person to a child under 16 should be guilty of a felony upon the first conviction, and should be liable to fine, or imprisonment, or both. It is further provided that if the person commits a second offense of the same nature, psychiatric examination of the offender before sentencing is required. If examination discloses sexual perversion, the offender is to be confined in a mental institution; if no perversion is found, upon conviction the offender shall be subject to a five to ten year sentence in the state penitentiary.
Passed to control sexual indecencies toward young children, the amendment supplemented an earlier statute which guarded the morals and persons of minors by forbidding the solicitation of such youngsters or the communication to them of any venereal disease. The old law failed to guard adequately against sexual perverts who preyed upon the young. The amendment dovetails with the Nebraska sex psychopath law in that it calls for compulsory psychiatric examination with hospitalization upon a finding of psychosis. However, such examination is given only after commission of a second offense, differing in this respect from the sex psychopath act.
Nebraska's sex psychopath law, passed in 1949, was the first attempt of the legislature to combat the sex crime dilemma. The law vests authority in the county attorney to institute proceedings against anyone whose sexual conduct shows good cause for judicial inquiry into his mental condition. The petition for such inquiry is filed in the district court of the county of the accused's residence, and the accused is examined by two licensed physicians, each with at least two years special training in mental diseases.
James W. Hewitt,
Nebraska Statutory Revision of Punishment of Sex Offenders,
33 Neb. L. Rev. 475
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