Sex offender bill advances

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Bill would require notification of release

HARTFORD — The legislature’s Judiciary Committee unanimously approved this month a bill that would require the state to notify town officials upon the release of a registered sexual offender into their municipality.

“I’m happy that my colleagues agree so strongly that this is a supremely important bill,” said state Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17) in a press release. “Families deserve to know if they are living in a neighborhood that is anything less than secure. This bill will enable municipal leaders and parents to make informed decisions to protect their children and families.”

Crisco and state Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) championed the legislation, Senate Bill 432. The bill, which was sent to the Senate, will require the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to provide notice to the chief executive officer of a municipality upon the release of a registered sexual offender into such municipality. The bill would give municipal officials discretion to inform residents of the neighborhood.

Crisco and Klarides advocated for the bill in response to a recent situation in Woodbridge where a child’s bus stop was located directly in front of a group home that housed two sex offenders. According to the release, one was convicted of four felony sex offense crimes, two of which involved young girls aged 5 and 7. The other offender was convicted of two felony crimes involving sexual assault of a child.

The bus stop was eventually moved. However, it was several years before the parents learned about the sex offenders and took action, the release stated.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is political pandering by Senator Crisco when he says…” “Families deserve to know if they are living in a neighborhood that is anything less than secure.” That is telling the public..with this law all the safety issues in our state will be taken care of and that is ludicrous. Legislators and the media are well-aware of studies: Only 5.3% of the people convicted of sex offenses were re-arrested for a new sex offense and 3.5% were re-convicted. (JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE, P 13) and many others stating the recidivism rate is very low.

    They are aware of this too: The myth of “stranger danger” persists despite that most sexual perpetrators are well known to their victims. According to the Department of Justice, most child sexual abuse victims are molested by family members (34%) or close acquaintances (59%) (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). About 40% of sex crimes take place in a victim’s own home, and 20% take place in the home of a friend or relative (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997).

    Here are a few other facts to think:
    Etan Patz was six when stepped proudly out of his house that Friday morning. He finally had permission to walk the two blocks to his school bus stop by himself like his other friends. That was 25 May 1979 and Stan and Julie Patz still don’t know what happened to him.

    Jaycee Dugard was walking to her school bus stop on June 10, 1991 when the grey sedan passed her, turned around almost in front of her home and went back. A woman got out, grabbed the eleven year old and the car sped away. Jaycee’s step-father was watching from their driveway but he couldn’t get the license number. On 26 August 2009 she was recovered with her two daughters from the home of convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido. He had traveled 114 miles to find a victim.

    Jimmy Ryce disappeared on 11 September 1995, two weeks shy of his 10th birthday. He only had one block to his home from the bus stop but a pickup blocked the way. A man with a gun forced him into the pickup. Juan Chavez confessed to kidnapping and murdering Jimmy and he had never been convicted of a sex crime before

    Ben Ownby, 13 years old, got off his school bus that Monday afternoon, 8 January 2007, but never made it home. A friend’s description of a pickup truck led to the home of Michael Devlin, some 49 miles away in Kirkwood, Missouri. When FBI agents went to Devlin’s home four days later, they found Ben and another boy, Shawn Hornbeck. Shawn had been kidnapped in Richwoods, Missouri on 6 October 2002 while riding his bicycle to visit a friend. Devlin, who had no prior sex crime convictions, had traveled about 54 miles from his home to take Shawn.

    Somer Thompson usually walked home from school with her brother, sister, and some friends. On 19 October 2009 the seven year old got into an argument and ran ahead of the group, around the corner and out of sight. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill. There were 161 sex offenders listed as living within 5 miles of her home but Jarred Harrell wasn’t on that list because he had never been convicted of a sex crime.

    Jessica Ridgeway was walking to a park a few blocks from her Westminster, Colorado home to meet with friends for their usual walk to school. She never made it. Her dismembered body was found six days later just a few miles away from her home. Seventeen-year-old Austin Sigg, who has confessed to the crime had no history of conviction for criminal sexual activity and would not have been on any registry to warn his neighbors that he was any kind of threat

    Finally let me ask, wouldn’t prevention programs be a better objective than putting a target on our families backs and subjecting them to hate filled vigilantes?

    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com