Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Manatee, Sarasota & Hillsborough Sheriffs Endorse Buchanan Bill to Protect Kids

Oct 8, 2020
Press Release

BRADENTON, Fla – Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister have endorsed his legislation to protect children from predators. 

Buchanan’s bill (the CREEPER Act 2.0) will help reduce pedophilia by banning the sale of lifelike child sex dolls used by predators to “normalize” their behavior. 

The list of Florida Democrats who have co-sponsored the bill now includes Reps. Donna Shalala, Kathy Castor, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy and Alcee Hastings. 

“Nothing is more important than making sure our children are safe," Buchanan said. "I look forward to working with Sheriffs Wells, Knight and Chronister to protect our children from predators.”

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said, “We cannot allow predators to have access to items that support their desires to harm to children. I support Congressman Buchanan’s CREEPER Act 2.0 to ban childlike sex dolls and help protect children from predators.”

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said, “I commend Congressman Buchanan for his tireless efforts to ensure that our children are protected.”

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said, “Congressman Buchanan’s common-sense legislation to protect children is long overdue. We already have this law in Florida and I strongly support his bill to nationalize it to all 50 states. Pedophilia is a crime that lives in the shadows and destroys innocent lives and families.”

Buchanan’s CREEPER (Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots) Act 2.0 would ban the sale, possession, importation and transportation of sex dolls resembling children. The original CREEPER Act introduced in Congress in 2017 banned the transportation and importation of child sex dolls but languished in the U.S. Senate. Buchanan's updated version adds language from the Florida law that also makes it illegal to sell or possess the dolls. 

Last month, Democratic State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Hollywood, who authored Florida's law banning child sex dolls endorsed Buchanan's bill. She spoke with Buchanan about the issue and expressed strong support for taking the ban nationwide. Buchanan's bill, the CREEPER Act 2.0, would do just that.

In addition to State Sen. Book and Sheriffs Wells and Knight, numerous child protection and victim support organizations have endorsed Buchanan’s bill including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the National District Attorneys Association, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA), Victims Refuse Silence, the Child Rescue Coalition and the Selah Way Foundation.

The bill has also garnered support in Congress from members across the country with 25 co-sponsors including 10 from Florida. 

Buchanan, co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, has a long record fighting human trafficking and child exploitation. Last year, Buchanan introduced the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act to combat human trafficking by educating students about the rapidly spreading crime. Buchanan also chaired Florida delegation hearings on human trafficking earlier this year and in 2017. Also in 2017 Buchanan wrote a column on the growing problem of human trafficking in Florida. In 2014, Buchanan co-sponsored the End Sex Trafficking Act to help law enforcement detect, investigate and prosecute sex trafficking predators in the U.S.