Recent Cases Show Deadly Loopholes For Sex Offenders
Adam Kirkirt was recovered safely after his alleged abduction by Frederick Fretz, a convicted sex offender.
I was thrilled yesterday, as that animal Joseph P. Smith, was found guilty of murdering 11-year-old angel Carlie Brucia. I can't imagine a punishment to fit the crime. Smith is lucky that I'm not that the one who gets to decide.
I am relieved this child-killer will be off the street. But this case simply enrages me. Smith should never have been free on the streets. It's been a tough year -- we have seen what seems like case after case of our nation's children being victimized. There is no excuse, it's time to demand better protection for our children. Tell your congressmen we need to protect those who cannot protect themsleves. Write to your senators and tell them to pass The Child Safety Act of 2005 now.
-John Walsh | 11.18.2005
<The following is an editorial by John Walsh
Part I of a Two Part Series
View Part II
In January, 11-year-old Adam Kirkirt was abducted from his home in Dunnellon, Fla., allegedly by a man who is a registered sex offender. Adam was lucky. He was recovered safely.
But 25 days later and 27 miles away, nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was not lucky. As I write this, her family has just gone through her funeral. Jessica was a beautiful little girl who deserved so much from her life. I can't help but feel that we all let her down.
Back in January I wrote about the flaws in the systems that are supposed to keep sex offenders away from our children. Back then Adam Kirkirt had just been recovered safely. I wrote, "next time a child is abducted by a sicko we may not be so lucky." I am heart broken that my worst fears have been realized so soon.
John Couey, Jessica's alleged killer was a registered sex offender. The man is a loser who's been in and out of jail since he was 18. Check out John Couey's rap sheet. He's been arrested more than 26 times and broken probation again and again. There's no way Couey should have been out in the community and in a position to hurt anyone -- especially not a precious child. In fact, in December an arrest warrant was issued for Couey because he once again had broken probation. But no one went looking for Couey, and no one let law enforcement know that a sex offender had absconded. And no one ever discovered that he was living on South Snowbird Terrace with a direct view of Jessica's house.
Mark Lunsford, Jessica's dad, has stood so tall and strong through his ordeal, but he never had a chance to protect his daughter from the sex offender who lived across the street, because he didn't even know about him. Jessica's abduction and murder is a tragic reminder that our laws are too weak, and sexual predators like John Couey have all the advantages.
Police actually knew about the home across from the Kankas that housed three sex offenders
Sex Offender Registries
Jacob Wetterling was abducted at gunpoint. He is still missing.
Find the sex offender registry for your state »
NCMEC's Model State Sex Offender Policy - an 8 point strategy to protect children »
Child Sex Offenders - Definitions »
We Must Change How We Deal With Child Sexual Offenders »
In this country we have a handful of laws named after children who we didn't protect in the first place. Their history is a parable for the gradual awakening in America to the terrible realities of sexual offenders and predators.
Jacob Wetterling lived in St. Joseph, Minn. In October 1989, a man abducted Jacob at gunpoint. His case has never been solved, and to this day, Jacob's fate remains a mystery. After Jacob's abduction, police learned of a halfway house in the community that was home to newly released sex offenders. Though no links to that home were ever proven, an outcry went up over the situation which had sex offenders living and working anonymously among unsuspecting families -- unknown even to police.
Jacob's mother, Patty Wetterling, set out to make a difference. In 1994, The Jacob Wetterling Act was passed. It established minimal requirements for state programs to register convicted sex offenders. It was a start, but even before it was made law its limitations became clear.
You may not remember the name, Megan Kanka, but I know you've heard of Megan's Law. In July 1994, 10-year-old Megan was murdered by a two-time convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her family in Hamilton, New Jersey. This time, police actually knew about the home across from the Kankas that housed three sex offenders. The travesty is that laws prohibited them from informing the community. So once again, a family was unaware of the dangerous animals in their midst. In a tragic twist Maureen Kanka actually turned to her daughter's killer, Jesse Timmendequas, for help as she frantically searched for Megan.
It was an outrage. Parents, lawmakers, media pundits, conservatives and liberals -- we all came together and we asked ourselves, How did this happen? And how are we going to make sure it never happens again? So we passed Megan's Law (Megan's Law is actually an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Act).
Many hoped Megan's Law would be a shield that would protect children from known predators, but it just isn't comprehensive enough.
Go To Part II