11/22/2010

That Should Have Never Happened!

A couple of months ago, a Salt Lake City man was caught molesting a 4 year old girl in a store restroom. The mother lost sight of the child and while searching for her, heard her calling from the men's restroom. She caught the suspect in the men's restroom with her child. I'm sure this mother was further horrified when she found out this was not this suspect's first offence. In 1999, the suspect, Richard Randall, had pleaded guilty to the attempted sexual abuse of a 9 year old girl.

On June 9, 2010, three days before their high school graduation, 2 WA teens were killed (and a 3rd was seriously injured) in a DUI. The drunk driver was Alexander Peder, a 50 year old who had been previously arrested, twice, for drunk driving. Both times, his case was thrown out due to the dismissal of his breathalyzer evidence. If convicted of the two counts of vehicular homicide that he is charged with, he could serve a sentence of 5 to 7 years. He killed 2 kids. Good kids. Who were not drinking. And altered the lives of countless people.

So why were these families victimized? The writing was on the wall. The warnings had been made.

Randall King, the father of one of the teens killed, is trying to get a new law on the books in his son's name. The measure would require a person convicted of DUI on just the second offense to get a special driver's license that would prevent that person from buying alcohol at bars, restaurants and liquor stores for seven years. If I get the chance, I plan on voting in favor of this law.

Many great laws and practices have been born out of the resolve and drive of grieving parents. Megan's Law is a package of seven bills that requires convicted sex offenders to register with the state or county and then for the state/county to make that registry public. It was named for Megan Kanka who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by her neighbor who previously been convicted of sex crimes and was living with 2 other sex offenders.

There are also Amber Alerts, the national child abduction alert bulletins, named for Amber Hagerman who was abducted and killed in Arkansas. And let's not forget the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that has organized sex offenders into 3 tiers to help us better understand the severity of the charges of sex offenders and also determines how monitered they will be for the remainder of their lives. It was named for Adam Walsh who was kidnapped from a shopping mall and later murdered. His father John Walsh also went on to host the show America's Most Wanted. To date, America's Most Wanted has been running for 22 years and has helped find 50 missing children and helped catch 1131 fugitives. Now that's a father who is determined to save other parents from the grief he suffered.

I've actually been studying and researching this post for a while. But, I've held off writing it because usually I have an ending to my posts; a resolve. I don't want to be the parent who gets involved due to a tragedy in my life, I would rather be proactive. It really angers me when I hear about crimes that should have been prevented. However, I am at a loss of exactly WHAT to do to help keep our kids safe from previous offenders. So, I'm asking you. What do you do? Besides voting, what can we do?

Whaddya think?

2 comments:

  1. There is a website called family watchdog that also posts residences of registered sex offenders. I have found it to be more up-to-date that the state registry at times. I think we just need to be really vocal in our communities. The were expecting our children in our neighborhood to walk to school this year, and while it is only a little over a mile, it meant walking past a rapist's house in the neighboring community. They also put a bus stop at a house belonging to a registered sex offender of a minor under 12, so I called the principal to get it changed. Sometimes our administrators need help keeping an eye out for the kids. We have to care, and I think the most important thing, and I think communities like IF are really bad at this, is remember that it can happen ANYWHERE. People think it doesn't happen in their community and they are too trusting. I don't trust anyone. Gone are the days of slumber parties and overnighters. My kids sleep in my own home. My heart goes out to the mother and child in SLC. How tragic.
    Likewise, there was a man in southeast Idaho just arrested for a 5th DUI that killed someone. He has four other convictions. This guy needs to go away for a very long time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last week a 33-year employee of Cal Trans, working on a road closure, was killed by a guy convicted 3 times of a DUI already. The drunk had to do a breathalyzer to start his car, but had disabled it. The employee was just months away from retirement. My father-in-law knew him and he was a good guy. I think the driver is going away for a while but too little, too late.

    ReplyDelete