Sen. Steve Daines is urging his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that would prevent convicted pedophiles from receiving federal pensions.
Daines, R-Mont., introduced the bill, called the Denying Pensions to Convicted Child Molesters Act, in 2019. The bill comes in response to Stanley Patrick Weber, a former Indian Health Services pediatrician and convicted child molester who abused children for decades, including on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Weber is reportedly due $1.8 million in government pension from the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps during his prison term, which lawmakers argue does not hold him accountable for his actions. Though Weber is serving five life sentences in federal prison, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that, according to a military lawyer, because Weber was not charged with a crime until after his retirement, cutting off his pension payments would be tough.
But the Denying Pensions to Convicted Child Molesters Act would change that.
In his Tuesday letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Daines noted that his bill has been pending for over a year.
“In that time, perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable remain eligible to receive tax-payer funded pensions. That this is allowed to continue is unconscionable. I urge your committee to hold a business meeting on my bill as soon as possible so this common sense solution can be passed into law,” he wrote.
Daines’ spokesperson said the Senator “has been working on including language in his legislation to ensure that the final bill includes a mechanism for restitution for the victims.”
Congressmen Greg Gianforte, R-Mont. and Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in July, similarly demanding Weber be stripped of his pension.