State Assembly considering measure to strengthen penalties for sex crimes against children

Parents of murdered 17-year-old promote Chelsea's Law to deny predators 'a second chance'

A San Diego legislator has introduced a bill that would significantly strengthen penalties for sex crimes against children.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-75th) unveiled the specific policies Monday that comprise Chelsea's Law (Assembly Bill 1844).

In proposing the bill, Fletcher was joined by law enforcement leaders, crime victim advocates and a bipartisan coalition of elected officials as they outlined the details of their effort to reconstitute California's sex offender laws.

They were joined by Kelly and Brent King, whose daughter Chelsea was assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender.

"We are standing here today because our precious daughter Chelsea has inspired us, and thousands of others, to galvanize together to create a law that denies a convicted sexual predator a second chance to harm or take the life of another child," said Kelly King. "Chelsea is our beacon."

Chelsea's Law will increase penalties for sex crimes against children, lengthen the time sex offenders remain on parole with GPS monitoring and establish "safe zones" to limit where these offenders can spend their time.

"It is the first requirement of the people we elect to do everything within their power to ensure safe communities for our citizens," said Brent King. "Chelsea's Law is now in their hands, and by its enactment they will give law enforcement a tool with teeth to more effectively protect our children."

For the past six weeks since Chelsea's death, the Kings and Assemblyman Fletcher have worked with a broad coalition of stakeholders to conduct a thorough review of California's sex offender laws. Additionally, two separate legislative hearings to review the California Department of Corrections' parole system were held and a community forum in San Diego was attended by more than 800 people to offer public input about the direction of Chelsea's Law.

"Chelsea's Law will strengthen protections for our children," Fletcher said. "Violent sexual predators that prey upon children cannot be rehabilitated and with Chelsea's Law, we will have a criminal justice system that reflects this reality."

Chelsea's Law, as proposed, establishes the penalty of a life sentence without the possibility of parole for "Forcible Sex Crimes" against children under age 18 when aggravating circumstances exist.

If the Child is 13 and younger, the new penalty will be life without the possibility of parole for any Forcible Sex Crime that also includes one of the following major aggravating circumstances: Physical injury resulting in traumatic condition; kidnapping that substantially increases risk of harm to the victim; burglary with intent to commit sexual offense; mayhem or torture of the victim, or previous forcible sex offense conviction.

If the child is 14-17, the new penalty would be life without the possibility of parole for any "Forcible Sex Crimes."

Chelsea's Law authors do not believe that current prison terms for Forcible Sex Crimes against children where no aggravating circumstances exist are proportional to the crime.

Chelsea's Law seeks to increase those prison sentences by taking typical penalties of 3, 6 or 8 years up to 6, 12 or 16 years for Forcible Sex Crimes against children under 14 and 6, 9 and 11 years for children aged 14 to 17. Chelsea's Law would not change current law where, depending on the crime and the age of the victim, the penalty for a Forcible Sex Crime without aggravating circumstances is already 25 years to life or 15 years to life.

Under Chelsea's Law, it would become a misdemeanor and a parole violation if a registered sex offender enters a park where children regularly gather without receiving prior park administrator or parole agent approval.

It would also institute two primary changes to existing parole statutes. First, parole following a prison term for a Forcible Sex Crime, regardless of the age of the victim, is increased from 5 to 10 years. Second, parole following a prison term for a Forcible Sex Crime against a child under 14 is increased to lifetime parole, resulting in lifetime GPS monitoring of these more violent sex offenders.

"Our children deserve nothing less than absolute protection from violent sex offenders," Fletcher said. "The state's top priority must be public safety and I'm confident that my colleagues will join the effort to support Chelsea's Law and protect our children."

Chelsea's Law will be presented in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 20. Pending its passage, the Assembly Appropriations Committee will consider the bill in May.

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Like this comment
Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:33 am

They are seeking to increase the penalties and parole time for violent sex pedophiles? I think they do not go far enough!! If the evidence is clear, I think pedophiles should be executed. I see no point in our tax dollars housing, feeding and taking care of these people. They are a huge threat to public safety and should be done away with. Our society would be better off without them.

Unfortunately there is no effective rehabilitation that I know of for these people so..they gotta go!!

Like this comment
Posted by Keith Richard Radford Jr
a resident of Rosewood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:22 am

If you want equality between sex obliterate the law. Sex Laws cause division and are unconstitutional but more over, wasteful. Putting any person in jail for sex is the most wasteful thing anyone can do. Sex is not murder its nice and the freaks that thought different are dead wrong. Free political prisoners around the world now becaue people that like sex are more sound minded than people who don't and people who do are sounder in mind.
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I don't that what you're posting makes sense. As for your web link...duh...

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Correction: I don't think that what you're posting makes sense.

Like this comment
Posted by One strike law
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm

California should enact a 1-strike law for sex crimes against children. There is no reason to give these monsters another chance to hurt another child.

Like this comment
Posted by Need new laws
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I agree that there should be new laws to deal with sex offenders.

Just in Pleasanton, we have sex offenders living close to schools and there is nothing anyone can do about it because the laws protect these sex offenders.

Sex offenders should NOT be allowed to volunteer in any organization where minors are a part of. Sex offenders should not be allowed to have any contact with minors.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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