Strict watch on sex offenders

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Strict watch on sex offenders

A beautiful young girl was cruelly violated at the hands of a brutal criminal, who is no better than a wild animal, in Busan. How many victims does that make?

The primary suspect, Kim Kil-tae, previously served time in jail for sexual offenses. He was released from prison last June, and has lived in the victim’s neighborhood since then. Kim was not required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet because the law on that punishment went into effect in September 2008, after Kim’s conviction. But that is just a cowardly excuse. Crimes like these can be prevented if authorities simply monitor the area where a known sexual offender lives.

As shown through this case, the likelihood that someone convicted of a sex crime will become a repeat offender is higher than for any other crime. Since they cannot all be sentenced to life, former sex offenders must be closely supervised. The most effective way to do this is to have them wear electronic ankle bracelets.

Some say there have rarely been cases in Korea in which former sexual offenders with ankle bracelets have become repeat offenders since the law was implemented. However, a special solution needs to be provided for cases like that of Kim, for which retroactive legal application is impossible. Without such a solution, who will be able to raise a child and still have peace of mind? Even with the anklet, we need a system in which the authorities monitor former sexual offenders after their release from prison. It will not be easy in terms of budget or human resources, but there is nothing more urgent than guarding our children.

Our lawmakers should also take responsibility for protecting our children. Although current law limits wearing electronic ankle bracelets to a maximum of 10 years, the tracking system only confirms the route of movement and does not provide a warning when a former sex offender wanders close to an elementary school.

A revision bill that increases the term and enables close supervision was presented to the National Assembly at the end of last year, but it has not yet been passed. Another revision bill to extend the statute of limitations until a child sexual molestation victim becomes an adult is also pending. It is shameful that the current National Assembly cannot even deal with a law absolutely necessary for child protection because it is too busy focusing on political fights.

In July 2008 in Texas, a man convicted of molesting three teenaged girls was sentenced to 4,060 years in prison. It was a symbolic gesture that showed child sexual molestation would not be tolerated. How long will we continue to sacrifice our children and then blame ourselves?
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