A local prosecutor says Iowa’s new restrictions which bar sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care don’t address the real problem.
Marshall County Attorney Jennifer Miller says most children who are sexually abused are not at school or the babysitter’s when it happens.She says statistics show about 85 to 95 percent of all instances of child sexual abuse occur in the home, and the abuse is committed by a family member or family acquaintance. “So that 2000 foot law addresses a small minority of sexual offenses (against children) that are occurring,” Miller says.
Miller says even if a sex offender isn’t living near a school or day care, they can park their car in front of a school and watch kids all day long. She suggests rather than restrictions on where sex offenders may live, a better tactic would have been to forbid sex offenders from loitering in places where kids congregate.
Miller’s personal recommendation is that legislators consider creating ‘safe zones’ for children much like they’ve done with ‘drug-free zones’ where places like schools, public parks, aquatic centers, and libraries — places where children regularly gather — would be off-limits to sex offenders. Miller also says rather than banning sex offenders from living near a school, legislators would be more attuned to the plight of the victim by making it illegal for sex offenders to move into a home that’s near where their victim lives.
Miller pines for the “good old days” before this new law went into effect, as she says the living and working arrangements paroled sex offenders made were monitored by a parole officer. Miller says offenders were reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and parole officers told some sex offenders they couldn’t take certain jobs or live in certain places because they’d be around kids. Miller testified yesterday (Wednesday) before a legislative committee that’s examining Iowa’s new sex offender law.