This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor" Follow-Up segment tonight, as you know, a man named John Couey is charged with kidnapping, sexually abusing, and murdering nine-year old Jessica Lunsford in Florida.

And Couey had help. Three people lived with him. Two of them provided him with a bus ticket to get away and may have also lied to police during their hunt for Jessica while she was still alive.

Couey himself implies at least one of the roommates knew Jessica was being abused shortly before he brutally murdered her.

To his everlasting shame, Florida prosecutor Brad King did not prosecute Couey's roommates, but now there's a proposed new law in the Sunshine State that would prevent that from ever happening again.

Joining us now from Miami is the attorney general of Florida Charlie Crist.

So the law would say what, Mr. Attorney General?

CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Basically what it would say is that if a situation or a scenario like this would arise again, Bill, that in fact there would be the opportunity to prosecute. It would plug the hole in the law that you well identified last year.

Senator Jeff Atwater, Representative Mike Grant helped us in the attorney general's office to craft a bill that would say if somebody doesn't disclose that kind of information to law enforcement authorities when they are in the pursuit of an investigation of a sexual offender such as John Couey, that that would now be a felony in the state of Florida.

We're optimistic that that law will pass. Our legislature is in session right now. In an attempt to right that wrong.

O'REILLY: Yes. I can't imagine -- well, I shouldn't say that. I can't imagine people voting against it. But it will pass in Florida.

Now is it just child crimes or all sexual crimes?

CRIST: It's all sexual crimes. Unfortunately, we've had a rash of child crimes, as you're aware, but this would apply to all sexual crimes.

O'REILLY: All sexual crimes. So I just want to make sure that everybody understands the law, because I think it's an excellent law, by the way.

If the police are hunting for a rapist or an abuser of any child or an adult in the state of Florida, and a person misleads the police, doesn't tell them what they know about the situation and then it comes back, they can be charged with a felony.

Now right now, they can be charged with a misdemeanor, obstruction of justice, lying to authorities, but it would up it then to a, you know, very serious crime? Is that right?

CRIST: That's exactly right. It ups it to a felony. And it also plugs a hole that existed. It was already -- as you accurately described, it was a misdemeanor offense to lie to authorities.

O'REILLY: Right.

CRIST: But to not disclose information, there was no offense. And this plugs that hole, which we badly need to do.

O'REILLY: All right. So the person just goes I'm not going to talk to you, and then you guys figure out that this person knew Couey was in a closet with little Jessica, then "boom." So they have to talk? That's the law. They have to talk.

CRIST: Yes. Once this law is passed, that will be the law of the land in Florida. And we believe that that will prevent a lot of these cases from happening again.

O'REILLY: You know what I could never figure out, and maybe you can tell me this, I couldn't figure about this Brad King -- who's a Republican. I couldn't figure out why this guy was so reluctant to go after these three, particularly because they provided Couey with a bus ticket. Dixon bought the ticket with her own money. We know that. Secord brought it to Couey. And he fled to Georgia.

And the other guy, Diettrich, Couey now implies, and I don't know how reliable that is, knew Jessica Lunsford was in the closet alive, yet didn't say anything. And when the police came to the door, Couey says he was in the closet with Jessica when the cops were at the door. This is what Couey says. So this is a horrendous situation. I could never understand why King didn't aggressively go after these three people.

CRIST: Well, it's a very frustrating situation, Bill. And it certainly was for us here in Florida.

O'REILLY: Did you talk to King about it, though? Did you ask him why?

CRIST: I talked to him subsequently, but in terms of the why, the answer always has been that there was no specific crime identified in Florida for not disclosing information. This law will plug that hole. This will right the wrong...

O'REILLY: All right.

CRIST: This will make sure that Florida's children are safe.

O'REILLY: I bet you would have charged these guys down there.

CRIST: Well.

O'REILLY: Am I wrong?

CRIST: We're pretty aggressive...

O'REILLY: You would have done it. If you were in that county I bet you would have done it.

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