Jewish World Review July 6, 2005 / 29 Sivan,
Lock each and every one of them up!
How many children must die before lawmakers and the courts
decide to keep certain classes of sexual predators behind bars permanently?
Joseph Edward Duncan III, a registered sex offender from Fargo, N.D., is the
most recent addition to the pantheon of convicted pedophiles who have been
let out of jail only to prey on other victims upon their release. Duncan was
convicted of twice raping a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint in 1980. He was 16
years old at the time he committed the crime.
Sentenced to 20 years, Duncan was first released after serving
14 years, violated his parole and was sent back to prison in 1997, where he
remained until 2000. When he finally got out, he enrolled in college and
even made the dean's list, but soon was trolling for more victims. Duncan
was arrested for videotaping and fondling a 6-year-old boy on a playground
in Minnesota last July, but instead of being sent back to prison or at
least held without bail he was released on a $15,000 bond in April, then
On Saturday, Duncan was arrested and charged with kidnapping
8-year-old Shasta Groene, who disappeared, along with her 9-year-old brother
Dylan, in May. Shasta's mother, 13-year-old brother, and a family friend
were found bound and bludgeoned to death at the family home in Coeur
d'Alene, Idaho, on May 16th. An observant waitress at a local restaurant
spotted Duncan and Shasta eating breakfast at 2 a.m. Dylan has yet to be
found alive, and police fear that remains uncovered in Montana over the
weekend are his.
Duncan is only the latest in a long list of convicted sex
offenders who have gone on to commit horrendous crimes after being released
from jail. Earlier this year, convicted sex offender John Couey was arrested
for the murder of Jessica Lunsford in Florida. While Couey was living across
the street from Jessica's home, he is alleged to have taken the 9-year-old
from her home, kept her hidden, sexually abused her, and then, according to
his own admission, buried her alive. David Onstott, a convicted rapist out
on bail for another crime, was charged just one month later with strangling
a 13-year-old girl, Sarah Lunde, near her home in Tampa. In May, his jailers
found that Onstott had been attempting to dig his way out of his jail cell
with a metal towel holder.
The punishment for raping a child ought to be life in prison,
period. There ought never to be a second chance for such persons. And while
lesser sexual crimes fondling or possessing child pornography, for
example might deserve a second chance, it must come under the most
restrictive circumstances: life-long, electronic monitoring. Any second
offense of such crimes should earn a life sentence, with no possibility of
parole. Does that mean tens of thousands of ex-sexual offenders (some
estimates put the number at 500,000) might end up in jail for life? Not
likely, since most of these are not pedophiles, the category of sexual
offenders least likely to be rehabilitated. But even if we have to build
many more jails to keep such criminals behind bars, wouldn't it be worth it
to save the lives of children like Jessica, Sarah, and so many others who
have died because of our failure to do so?
JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)