The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
(Today's Post Dispatch, in a page one story, reports that laws restricting where predators live and what they do on Halloween have been overturned by the MO Supreme Court.)
For immediate release: Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sex abuse victims call for constitutional amendment
Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 314 566 9790
At least five times in recent years, the Missouri Supreme Court has overturned laws designed to help expose predators and protect kids.
Yesterday, the court ruled that where convicted child predators live and what they do on Halloween cannot be restricted 'retroactively.'
In 2007, it ruled that convicted child predators couldn't be added to the sex offender registry for newly-passed laws that took effect after their convictions.
In 2006, it ruled that convicted child predators couldn't be forced to register as sex offenders if their crimes happened before the registry was created.
Based on essentially the same rational, the court, in the mid-1990s, ruled that many civil lawsuits against child molesters were barred.
And in 2005, the court tossed out Missouri's "indecent exposure" law which had been used to convict one of Missouri's most notorious predator priests, Fr. James Beine, a.k.a. Mar James.
The net result of all this is simple and sad - thousands of suspected and convicted child predators aren't being exposed or restricted, so thousands of Missouri children are in more danger.
Now, the burden falls squarely on the legislature. We call on Missouri lawmakers, especially those who introduced these proposals, to draft and push for a constitutional amendment that remedies at least some of the court's rulings and enables the justice system to expose more dangerous child predators and safeguard more vulnerable children.
Were sponsors of these laws interested in furthering their careers or in protecting kids? That's what their actions, or inaction, will us in the months ahead.
Missourians have a clear choice. We can engage in futile criticism of the court, which ultimately won't protect kids. Or we can engage in the legislative process, which ultimately might protect kids. We call on citizens to contact their legislators and push for a constitutional amendment to 'un-do' at least some of the damage done by these rulings and restore some of the protections kids need.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests