The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public-policy interests of the three Catholic (arch)dioceses serving the state of Maryland, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. We submit this testimony in support of House Bill 521.
House Bill 521would extend the notification period during which a registered sex offender must notify local authorities about his intentions to travel outside the country, thereby increasing the amount of time that local authorities would have to notify appropriate agencies in the foreign country where the sex offender intends to travel. The bill will bring state practices in compliance with federal law, ensuring there will be no loss of Byrne Grant federal funding to the state.
Like many other institutions serving children, all Catholic parishes, diocesan schools and youth programs observe stringent child protection measures. Our institutions conduct mandatory criminal background checks on all employees and on volunteers who work with children, provide comprehensive awareness training to educate adults and children on how to recognize predatory behaviors, and promptly report all suspected incidents of child sexual abuse.
Given the importance of promptly notifying other institutions and communities regarding the presence of a sex offender in their midst, House Bill 521 is an important measure to facilitate timely notification and collaborative practices among law enforcement communities to ensure the safety of children.
We urge a favorable committee report on House Bill 521.