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Proposed 'Chelsea's Law' targets predators

April 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The parents of slain Poway teenager Chelsea King are urging passage of "Chelsea's Law," a law that would send some child molesters to prison for life after a first offense.Megan's Law and Jessica's Law are already in place, both created to crack down on sex offenders. But another tragedy is forcing a second look at whether the laws are tough enough.

"We're being led by her invincible spirit," said Kelly King, Chelsea's mother.

The parents of the slain San Diego-area teen Chelsea King have made it their mission to make sure no other California child is victimized by a molester.

They want the worst of the worst locked up forever.

"Life without the possibility of parole for a violent sexual predator is needed," said Brent King, Chelsea's father. "These offenders cannot be rehabilitated. They do not deserve a second chance."

In a proposal named after their daughter, Chelsea's Law includes: a one-strike provision, life without parole for forcible sex crimes against children; lifetime parole for the most violent sex offenders who do get out, including GPS monitoring; and the establishment of parks as safe zones, where sex offenders may not go without prior permission from authorities.

"The primary responsibility of government is public safety. It's why it exists, to protect the innocent, to protect the vulnerable, to protect our children. And we have to do a better job," said state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego).

Chelsea's accused killer and rapist, John Albert Gardner, raised questions over how the criminal justice system failed. He had served time for molesting a 13-year-old girl and was discharged from parole.

Had this proposed law been in place, Gardner would have been a one-striker after his first crime and been in prison for life, perhaps never crossing paths with Chelsea.

"My personal promise to all the children, all the mothers and all the fathers, is that I will do all I can to protect other daughters and sons," said Kelly King.

The group California Attorneys for Criminal Justice opposes this bill, saying there's no proof that longer sentences and longer parole terms are actually effective.

While the estimates are still being calculated, the group also says the state cannot afford stricter guidelines during these tough budgetary times.


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