Predators walking free because of legal loophole

By: Kieran Wilson Email
By: Kieran Wilson Email

A legal loophole is allowing some suspected sexual predators off scot-free in Colorado courts, now lawmakers are working hard at the capital to plug that loophole.

State Representative Steve King says pedophiles scouring the internet looking for children and teenagers to prey on are becoming a savvier group.
Rep. Kings says, "they have a real tendency to improvise and adapt, and a real tendency to be motivated to find ways around the law and as a result we are going to find other ways to catch them."

King is sponsoring a bill that would help prosecutors put away offenders that take their luring offline. The bill would ban predators from using text messages and telephones to engage in sexually explicit conversations with children; things that right now aren't covered under the 2006 Internet Luring of a Child law. Kings explains, "Under Colorado law once they take that offline and go to text messages we don't really have the resources and the ability to make a case."

Something District Attorney Pete Hautzinger wants to see changed. Hautzinger emphasizes, “these kinds of offenders are about as technologically savvy as you can imagine." Hautzinger says that Mesa County hasn't seen a case his office couldn't prosecute because of the limitations of internet luring; but he brings up a recent Jefferson County case. There, a suspected sexual predator that contacted his victim on the internet and was off the hook after the judge couldn't try evidence that sexual conversations had occurred though text messaging and over the phone. Hautzinger doesn't want to see another suspected offender walk free, “this plugs that loophole, you can't get away with seducing or grooming a child by using texts and cell phones rather than just on the internet."

Lawmakers and prosecutors attempting to stay one step ahead of would–be criminals and seal the cracks before there are any more leaks.
This bill is being fast tracked trough the house and senate and is expected to be on the governor's desk within the month. If passed it would become law July 1, 2009.


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