The Iowa House today (Wednesday) has been debating the tracking and punishment of sex offenders. Representative Joe Hutter, a retired cop from Bettendorf, acknowledges the action is in response to the recent death of a 10-year-old Cedar Rapids girl who allegedly died at the hands of a convicted sex offender. “Today we are going to be doing the beginning of using a bill starting out as a nail and it’s going (to become) the hammer for sex offenders,” Hutter says. House members have voted to require sex offenders, stalkers or domestic abusers who’re released from prison to be supervised by a parole officer for two years. Representative Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, says many of those offenders refuse treatment while they’re behind bars. “Manditory supervised release closes the loophole for offenders who refuse treatment while in prison and provides the treatment and supervision upon release which is designed to promote a behavioral change,” Paulsen says. Representative Mark Smith, a Democrat from Marshalltown, supported the change.”Having been involved in the treatment of sex offenders and seeing how serious these issues are, I commend this,” Smith says. Roger Bentley, the man accused of assaulting and then killing Jetsetta Gage, was released from prison in 1997 after he served time for abusing a child. Bentley refused to participate in a treatment program while he was in prison. House debate was suspended over the noon hour and will resume later this afternoon.
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