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Lawmakers seek to change how and where sex offenders are released

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TACOMA — Keeping track of convicted, registered sex offenders in Pierce County is no small task — there are more than 2,500 of them living across the county.

“A Level 1 (sex offender), we have to knock on their door and verify they`re living at their registered address once a year. Level 2, we have to knock on their door once every six months and a Level 3, we have to knock on their door once every three months,” Pierce County sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Benson said.

It’s hard work, to keep up with people who are potentially dangerous to the community.

Who could forget July 4,  2007? Twelve-year old Zinna Linnik was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Her body was found a week later.

Convicted sex offender Terapon Adhahn confessed and is now serving a life sentence.

"I remember seeing all the kids in the alley and even little Zinna. It just really put a dark cloud over this neighborhood for a time because we all knew little Zinna," neighbor Richard Allen recalls.

Pierce County has what some call a disproportionate number of sex offenders.

While the county makes up only 12% of the state's population, it is home to 16% of the state's registered sex offenders.

"No one community should have to bear an unfair share of the burden that these sex offenders present to any community,” county prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

Now comes a new piece of legislation to solve the problem.

It was written by state Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place, and a bipartisan coalition of Pierce County legislators.

The proposed law would allow judges to consider not only the well-being of victims, but also the availability of sex offender treatment facilities and whether a disproportionate number of offenders are being released into any one county or local community.

"Seven or eight years ago, there was a fair share bill that addressed folks released from a traditional prison environment. What this bill does is it puts Special Commitment releases in the same process, if you will,” Kilduff said.

"This is the kind of bill that's so balanced and fair and important to public safety, I can't expect there would be much opposition,” Lindquist said.

The bill will get a hearing in the House Public Safety Committee Friday. It has already had a hearing on the Senate side.

Again it is bipartisan and most involved hope it will be voted into law sooner rather than later.

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11 comments

  • Hurst val

    So, ONE man killed 12 year old Zinna, not all 2,500. Why create legislation to disenfranchise all 2,500 for what one did? A man can get drunk behind the wheel and kill a child. When he gets out of prison there are no residency restrictions on him. How come we don’t punish ALL people who have been drunk? This is just feel good legislation to make law makers look like they are doing something. The solution is to make the registry for LE eyes only then the problem goes away. Otherwise someone is going to inherit a whole lot of sex offenders.

  • Kenneth Briggs

    make all sex offenders live in one area of town and put a chip in them to track them down , as for the dumb ass drunks after the first time you go to weekly AA meetings for life and no license for five years and all must beworking and not on welfare

  • sara johnston

    The first step is to cull the Registry of all offenders who have not been violent or targeted children. This was the original intent of the Registry – to protect children from everything and protect women from violence. It has grown into an overgrown repository for every type of loosely-defined “sex crime” – peeping toms, flashers, 19 year olds who slept with a 17 year old, etc. I am not justifying those crimes I’m just saying that they are not nearly as heinous as a pervert who targets children or rapes women.

  • sara

    Like other folks have commented, there are far too many people on the register. Law enforcement simply does not have the numbers to keep up with checking up on them all, and this is not going to change. The list should be limited to those who have actually attacked someone or are pedophiles. This way, those folks will have tabs kept on them and that is good.

  • yellowroselady

    (Part 2)
    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 3 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family together and provide the three things that professionals state are needed for successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system.

    Ariel Castro (Ohio), Jerry Sandusky (PA) and many others we hear and read about were NOT on any public registry and that is EXACTLY THE POINT. The public has been groomed to believe all they have to do is check a registry and be aware of “those on it” and their family will be safe. The truth of the matter is, according to credible studies like Bureau of Justice Statistics, the recidivism rate for another “sexual” offense is 3.5 % and those who are beginning to educate families are advising the other 93-95% of sexual offenses come from within the victim’s family, friends and those having access to the children and NEVER get reported.

    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com

  • yellowroselady

    (Part 1)
    I’m amazed that these legislators have not admitted that registries and restrictions are punitive after a person has been adjudicated, paid their debt to society and are living a law-abiding life. It’s not a matter of being “tough on crime” but “weak on courage” to stop the fear mongering and start being proactive instead of staying in that reactive rut. If you truly want to protect children and teens then STOP tracking the vast number of registrants who pose no threat then legislate and fund Child Sexual Abuse Training programs in schools, churches, organizations, PTOs.

    According to the NCMEC sex offender map, there are over 819,218 registrants across our nation. That is men, women and children (as young as 6, 8 and 10 in some states) and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and many others.