Posted by: coastcontact | March 2, 2010

Child Molestation

When will we have laws in every state that puts child molesters and sexual predators in jail for life?

This question is promoted by today’s AP report from San Diego.

March 03, 2010 2:01 AM EST

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Thousands of people are at a vigil in a San Diego suburb for a 17-year-old girl whose body is believed to have been found five days after she went to a park for a jog.

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Twelve-year-old Polly Hannah Klaas was having a slumber party when a strange man holding a knife entered her bedroom, tied up all the girls and put pillow cases over their heads. The intruder then took a sobbing Polly off into the night.Her friends stood back-to-back trying to untie themselves. When that didn’t work, one girl was able to bring her hands under her feet to free herself. The girls then awakened Polly’s mother, who immediately called the police.It was October 1, 1993.

A stranger had invaded a private home in Petaluma, CA and snatched an innocent child from her very own bedroom. There were witnesses to tell the story. People in her home town and throughout the world helped search for her.

By the time Polly’s body was found on December 3, 1993, over 2 billion images of Polly Klaas had been distributed worldwide.

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Parolee named in Lily Burk abduction, murder *

Kevin Roderick • July 27 2009 1:20 PM

Police said today that they took transient Charlie Samuel into custody by 5:30 p.m. Friday on drug charges in Downtown. They now have a pretty horrific chronology of the events that led to Burk being found dead in her Volvo; Samuel was apparently spotted getting out of the car’s driver-side door at 4:52 p.m. outside 458 Alameda. Police believe Burk was abducted about 3 p.m. from outside Southwestern University Law School, located in the former Bullock’s Wilshire store on Wilshire in Koreatown. Samuel had been released from state prison in February and was arrested April 23 on a parole violation, then enrolled in a drug program.

Laws pertaining to sex offenders and child molestation vary with each state.  California is probably no different than many other states but it certainly has had a continuing rash of repeat offenders. This situation is likely to grow larger due to budget shortfalls.

From Sentencing Law and Policy. The Texas Senate panel approved a bill allowing the death penalty for repeat child sex offenders Tuesday but said major work remains on the proposal.  Senate Bill 5, the “Jessica’s Law” urged by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, now advances to the full Senate. The law is named for Jessica Lunsford of Florida, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted, raped and killed.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee vote was 5-1 with one member abstaining.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined Dewhurst at the hearing in supporting the bill, which calls for a minimum 25-year sentence for violent child sex offenses and life without parole or death for second offenses.

Abbott brushed off concerns that the U.S. Supreme Court might find the death penalty unconstitutional for crimes that do not end in death.  Noting that the court barred the death penalty in a rape case 30 years ago, Abbott said he sees a “greater chance” the high court may allow the death penalty for repeat, felony sexual assault against children.  “I would proudly and personally go up to the United States Supreme Court and defend the constitutionality of this case, this legislation, which I think is the right legislation for the state of Texas,”said Abbott….

Prosecutors and others who testified against the measure fear that families will be reluctant to turn in friends or relatives, who reportedly commit nine out of 10 sexual offenses against children.

From USLegal Definitions. The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect defines child sexual assault as: “Contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person when the perpetrator or another person is in a position of power or control over the victim.” Sexual abuse has been defined to include inappropriate physical contact, making a child view sexual acts or pornography, using a child in making pornography, or exposing an adult’s genitals to a child.

In some states, social workers, medical professionals, clergy, foster parents, attorneys, and camp counselors are required to report abuse. Some states require any person who suspects abuse to report it to authorities. The time when a complaint may be filed, called the statute of limitations, varies by state. One state law sets the statute of limitations on serious sex abuse of a child at age 31 for the victim in criminal cases and age 20 for civil litigation. In another state, the time period is defined according as a certain number of years after the victim turns 18. There is a trend toward extending the statute of limitations in such cases because research has shown that victims typically develop psychological coping, or blocking, mechanisms which may cause them to suppress the abuse or prevent their understanding of the cause of their trauma.

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