DALLAS (AP) - Many Texas offenders sentenced in the most heinous of child sex crimes initially receive no prison time at all.
That's the finding of an analysis published by the Dallas Morning News.
The newspaper found that in 13-thousand cases involving aggravated sexual assault of a child since 1991, four of every ten sentenced offenders received deferred adjudication.
When an offender was sent to prison, less than one in five got 25 years or longer.
Under stricter sentencing laws passed in Texas this year, prosecutors can seek the death penalty for some repeat child rapists.
But experts say that dealing harshly with sex offenders isn't as easy as it seems.
One reason: Federal statistics show that 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault victims know their perpetrator, and parents are often reluctant to take a relative or friend to trial.
Some victims advocates say that while the new legislation may be politically popular, it doesn't attack the root of the problem.