David Allyn Dokich - Serial Child Rapist / High Risk Sex Offender

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Does Public Safety Depend On Political Pressure?

By Senator Bob Dutton - District 31

It is an unfortunate fact that, it takes a heinous act of violence against a child for a bill substantially increasing criminal penalties to make it through the Public Safety committees of the California State Legislature. Even then, it may take the outrage and undying persistence of a parent who has lost a child through this senseless, violent act to get a law passed.

Several times, even the heart-rending stories these parents tell cannot convince those in the majority party who control these committees, and often put the rights of criminals ahead of innocent victims, to pass laws to protect California’s children. These legislators still vote against bills that would take child predators off the streets. In some cases the parents of these children must appeal directly to California voters for tough new laws to end these tragedies.

Think about it. It took an initiative or a widely-reported senseless act to create the Three Strikes Law, Megan’s Law, and the Amber Alert system. They were all born of measures enacted only after innocent children were assaulted and, in some cases, killed, and only after parents amassed incredible pressure from the public and the media to force change, and the votes, in the California Legislature.

In 2004, liberal lawmakers gave in to massive pressure from parents, media, and law enforcement officials to provide “some” Internet access to data collected on California’s more than 100,000 registered sexual offenders. However, even that bill failed to include access to all of the key information about the risk those predators pose.

At the same time, those in the majority party controlling those committees rejected legislation that would have required these criminals to wear monitoring devices and ban them from living near or hanging out at parks or schools. In fact, in the last dozen years, the most liberal members controlling these committees have killed no fewer than 20 bills that would have increased penalties against sexual offenders or provided increased monitoring of their whereabouts by law enforcement officials.

It has happened again. Now that Jessica’s Law supporters gathered enough signatures to qualify the measure for the Noembmer ballot majority leadership has finally decided to get tough – in their own way.

Recently, they amended a bill, which originally would have weakened the Three Strikes Law, and created their own sex offender management bill. Let’s not forget that during this legislative session, these same members killed several bills that increase penalties for creating or trafficking child pornography, required child molesters to wear GPS tracking devices so police can monitor their movements, and prohibited Internet luring. In fact, up until they approved their watered-down version of Jessica’s Law, the only major piece of legislation the Assembly Public Safety Committee had passed was a moratorium on the death penalty.

So, California voters must ask – Is the watered down Jessica’s Law proposal enough? It may be a start, but it is nowhere close to being what the public expects, and it still does not stop sexual predators. For example, last month Dateline NBC aired an investigation where investigators or reporters posed as twelve- and thirteen-year-olds on the Internet in a sting in Riverside County that netted more than 50 arrests. Once online, adult men immediately began contacting these “kids,” attempting to lure them for sex.

Many of the suspects sent naked pictures, went into graphic detail about sexual activity, and arranged for meetings. In a three-day period, more than 50 suspects e-mailed, phoned, or instant messaged the decoys and then stopped by the house where they believed a teenage boy or girl was home alone. The suspects brought liquor, condoms, and pornography to their encounters. Thankfully, these folks will be facing felony charges for attempting to sexually assault a child due in large part to Dateline and the Riverside County Sheriff’s office.

However, most people who use the Internet to lure children in an attempt to molest them do not face felony prosecution because, under current law, a prosecutor must prove intent, and to do so, the sex predator has to meet up with the child. The naked photos, the graphic language, phone calls, and even e-mails to arrange a meeting may not be enough to obtain a felony charge.

Republicans have offered bills to strengthen Internet luring laws, but they have failed to clear Public Safety committees. Unfortunately, the current proposal does not go far enough when it comes to protecting kids from luring.

So, before the state has another victim, the Legislature must enact tougher penalties to safeguard the public, especially our children, from these and thousands of other sexual predators roaming our streets. If they don’t rest assured the provisions in Jessica’s Law that has the support of nearly 80 percent of those polled will offer those protections legislators haven’t.

Giving sex offenders another chance to prey on unsuspecting young victims threatens the safety of our families, a basic expectation of our society.

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Senate District 31 includes the southwestern portion of San Bernardino County and the northwestern portion of Riverside County. In San Bernardino County the 31st Senate District includes all of Big Bear, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Upland, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Mentone, Running Springs, An Antonio Heights and portions of San Bernardino and Colton. In Riverside County the 31st Senate District includes all of Riverside, Glen Avon, Highgrove, Mira Loma, Pedley, Rubidoux, Sunnyslope and all but a small portion of Woodcrest.

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