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We must do more to protect our kids

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

In response to the May 18 editorial "Crime and Confusion": The brutal rape of an 11-year-old girl in an abandoned house by a convicted sex offender clearly illustrates the need to toughen our laws to protect children. The suspect was convicted of sex crimes and released after serving only half his sentence. He moved to Pennsylvania, avoided registering as a sex offender and moved about the city at will.

We need to more strictly monitor and ensure these individuals are not allowed to move from state to state without being required to register. I have sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 428, to conform Pennsylvania law with the federally mandated national standards to strengthen sex offender registration and notification. Offenders would have to register before being released from prison, in person, and the worst offenders would have to check-in more frequently.

In many cases, registration is not enough -- particularly in the case of sexually violent predators. I've also introduced SB 827 to require sexually violent offenders and certain other sex offenders to wear Global Positioning System monitors so their whereabouts can be tracked.

Repeat sex offenders and those who willfully fail to register should not be allowed to be around children unsupervised. It's as simple as that. This law would ensure that law enforcement officials know where these offenders are. GPS monitoring also would help law enforcement determine whether a monitored offender was involved in a new case of sexual assault.

Pennsylvania has been aggressive in implementing measures to protect children and communities from sex offenders, including Jessica's Law and recent improvements to Megan's Law. Implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and GPS monitoring of sex offenders would protect them even more.

 

JANE C. ORIE
Majority Whip, Pennsylvania Senate, 40th District

 

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