Laws on sex offenders should be even tighter for our children’s sake
I am certain that many of you noticed the Nevada Appeal published an article informing readers of the release of a tier 3 sex offender in Carson City. A tier 3 classification is like a yearbook honor roll dedicated exclusively to sex offenders who are most likely to succeed – most likely to succeed at sadistically raping our children, again, and again, and again.
The Appeal made a very telling statement by publishing that article on the front page. It was more of a community alert than an article. We even featured a mug shot of this … umm … person.
I am also sure that you read the harrowing, irrepressibly heartbreaking article on Kelsey Settle – a 14-year-old Carson City rape victim who now at 17 is planning her education in law. Again, front page news of the Appeal. Oh, and then there’s that 42-year-old maintenance worker who raped a 7-year-old boy that we reported in July, and the guy who reportedly fondled himself in front of a store clerk in the adult video section of Naughty and Nice. Just a small sampling of the apparent 52 assorted flavors of sex-offending rodents that infest our otherwise lovely city. Incredible. Simply incredible.
Last year, I wrote a series of columns about these modern day black plague vermin. Sen. Dina Titus used those columns as reference in her pursuit of legislation that would tighten the reins on sex offenders in Nevada. She was one of the few who had the bravery to impose her will on the Legislature to pass such a bill (SB 341) of restraint.
Is the bill exactly what we need? Not even close. Does Sen. Titus get my applause for a logical start to cast these sexual violators more visibly into public awareness? More like a standing ovation. This isn’t a personal endorsement of Dina Titus in her sprint to the finish line in the crowded lanes of this year’s governor’s race marathon. We’ll have to see about that. But it is my own personal commendation of her magnanimous pursuit to “… crack down on child sexual predators and other sex offenders by tightening our laws.”
For my money, she was the only senator who exhibited the warranted and utterly convincing tenacity of a pit bull to get the point across to our legislators. What Dina Titus’s legislative course of action did last year was allow no early parole for convicted sex offenders. It also pinned their streets of residency in full public awareness, and forbade their living in close proximity to schools and parks. Violation of supervisory terms and conditions will be met by felony prosecution. Sex offenders must renew their drivers licenses every year as a tracking element. And those under probation must consent to a home and property search without issuance of a warrant.
On July 27, President Bush signed a federal bill that further tightens the metaphoric noose around the necks of sex offenders. It includes the compilation of a national database that comprehensively offers a library of DNA collected from convicted sex offenders and molesters. National funding will be granted on a match program to any state investing monies toward implementing a pedophile tracking process using the Global Positioning System (GPS), which requires the most serious offenders to wear an ankle bracelet, and a GPS tracking device around the waist so parole officers are immediately alerted if any one piece of GPS equipment is cut or removed.
The new bill also allows families of victims or the victims themselves to issue lawsuits against those who sexually offended or molested them. It applies mandatory minimum sentences for child rape and trafficking of child prostitution. Civic penalties for downloading child pornography have increased under this new law, from $50,000 to $150,000. It should be $1 million, but it’s a start. Also under this law, victims who are ages 18 and older will now have the right to seek and recoup damages from offenders who have used childhood photographs of them for downloading personal or public pornographic purposes.
What I’d like to see now is a bill that takes it even further in Nevada and anywhere. We need to know where these venomous snakes are nesting so we – the community – can watch every move they make. We need to make the children of our communities aware of where these treacherous reptilian freaks may again rattle to their unassuming prey and shed their skin to unwilling eyes and bodies.
If we cannot prevent convicted sex offenders from walking our streets after they have served sentence, then we not only need to know who they are, but specifically where they are. No zip codes needed. A street address will suffice.
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.