Lawmaker introduces "Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act" - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Lawmaker introduces "Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act"

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UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

New legislation aims to help protect children nationwide.

Thursday morning, Congressman Robert Pittenger formally announced the "Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013".

The new legislation seeks to ensure those who commit heinous acts against children punished appropriately.

"As a father and grandfather, what happened to little Kilah sickens me," said Congressman Pittenger.  

"When I learned that many states have inadequate laws regarding child abuse, I committed to taking appropriate federal action to protect children, the most vulnerable in our society."

The legislation is named after Kilah Davenport.

The three-year-old was beaten so badly in May 2012, she suffered brain damage. She had a broken clavicle, fractured skull, and damage to 90% of her brain.

Investigators said her stepfather was responsible for the beating.

Joshua Houser was in court earlier this month as his lawyer asked for his $1 million bond to be lowered. The judge denied the request.

Kilah's mother, Kirbi Davenport, was at Thursday's press conference and expressed strong support for the new legislation.

"Like any mother, I wish my baby girl didn't have to be the face of this legislation, but those were the cards we were dealt," commented Kirbi Davenport.  

It's coming up on a year since Kilah endured that horrific abuse. Her mother says Kilah's body is slowly starting to a respond.

"Saturday she said monkey for the first time which we're really excited about" Davenport says.

Doctors and therapists say Kilah can hold her head up for three minutes, keep her eyes open longer, and eat food through her mouth without crying.

Davenport says "they want her to sit to be fed without being held."

But as Kilah meets goals set for her, her mother is determined to change felony child abuse sentencing. Kirbi Davenport says she will be making trips to Washington, D-C to lobby on behalf of the H. R. 1311... the bill named after her daughter.

"Let everyone see a survivor. Let everyone meet Kilah because that's all you need" she says.

Davenport says as Kilah's case became public, she heard from people across the country who urged her to continue fighting to change the laws.

"I support this legislation 100 percent, and I call on Washington lawmakers to support this bill whatever their political views.  Preventing child abuse is a bipartisan issue, and this legislation has the potential to save a child's life."

If enacted, the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act will ensure states punish child abusers who inflict serious injury with a minimum sentence of more than 10 years.

Currently in North Carolina, a first-time offender would receive a sentence of 4 to 6 years, even though the child might be disabled for life.  

States that do not meet minimum sentencing requirements would lose the right to receive federal taxpayer money for child abuse prevention programs.  

For more information on the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act (H. R. 1311), visit pittenger.house.gov/KilahsLaw.

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