09/28/06 — Need for reform: Bureaucratic oops could set John Mark Karr free, again

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Need for reform: Bureaucratic oops could set John Mark Karr free, again

His crazy claims that he murdered Jon Benet Ramsey aside, the scariest part of the story in the John Mark Karr case is what could happen this week.

California authorities have lost the evidence that prompted the child pornography charges that were pending against him. So, without the images or computer hard drives, Karr could go free.

And he would not be the first potential sex offender who escaped prosecution because of a technicality, either.

The news is filled these days with stories of adults who are preying on children — and tragic accounts of repeat sex offenders who have raped, murdered or forever scarred young children when they could have been stopped.

John Mark Karr is not just crazy — he is a risk. His behaviors suggest he has an unnatural fascination with young children and has already fantasized once about harming one. Putting him away is a priority.

There has been a lot of talk lately about how to handle sex offenders — especially those who target children.

There are discussions about rights, second chances and therapy.

But the truth is that we need tougher, not weaker, laws governing the identification and punishment of sex offenders. We need more pre-emptive strikes that get these sick individuals off the street before they can destroy the life of a young child. If they are repeat offenders, we should throw away the keys to their jail cells.

And whether they think it is fair or not, we also have the right to know where they live and who they are.

Karr’s case is a chance for us to think harder about the best ways to protect our children — and it is a chance we should not pass up again.

Published in Editorials on September 28, 2006 12:02 PM