In my new thriller ALL GOOD DEEDS, former Child Protective Services worker turned private investigator and vigilante killer of pedophiles Lucy Kendall states very clearly that pedophiles can’t be cured. She bases her opinion on 10 years with CPS and seeing countless repeat offenders, as well as national statistics.
Lucy, as so many of our characters do, gets this very hardline belief from her creator. I don’t think they can be cured, and I really don’t believe they should have a second chance. But let me clarify, for myself and for Lucy: I’m distinguishing between pedophiles and registered sex offenders. While many registered sex offenders are pedophiles, the term and the law encompasses a wide range of acts and ages. You can read more about it here. Lucy is after child molesters.
Which brings me to the question: should our laws be tightened to ensure a child molester never gets out? I realize that brings up the massive budgetary issues our state and federal prisons face, but how many repeat offenders are there in this country? How many kids are molested by someone who was once incarcerated for the same crime but was released because time was served? I don’t believe these people can control their urges–even the few who actually want to.
Consider the case of Joe Ed Davis, a Texas man convicted of indecency with a child for the second time. Under Jessica’s Law, Texas sentenced him to an enhanced sentence of life in prison instead of the usual two to twenty year sentence for the Second Degree Felony. Jessica’s Law was signed into effect in 2007, the result of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford’s kidnapping, rape, and murder by John Couey. Couey was a registered offender. Jessica’s father Mark Lunsford fought for tougher sex offender laws throughout the United States. About 30 state legislatures have taken varied approaches, but the main component is a 25-year mandatory sentence and lifetime electronic monitoring.
Oklahoma is working to implement the death sentence for repeat child molesters.
But is that enough? Why do these monsters who go over children, get a second chance at all? Why must there be at least one more victim before they are permanently stopped? The answer is only simple if you look at it from an emotional standpoint, and unfortunately, lawmakers can’t do that. It’s a tangled mess that will likely never be solved. As a mother, all I know is that if someone did that to my child, I would be hard pressed to think of any law or have any sort of compassion to give someone a second chance.
And those questions led me to the creation of Lucy Kendall. She spent 10 years in our convoluted system trying to help kids and seeing the worst happen over and over again. One of her first cases involved eleven-year-old Justin Beckett, who raped and murder his neighbor and friend. Justin served his time and was released as an adult. Lucy snapped, and then started learning the benefits of cyanide. In ALL GOOD DEEDS, she’s confident she’s on the right path. But then a little girl goes missing, and she just happens to live across the street from Justin Beckett, the very man Lucy begged the courts not to release.
Loaded with guilt and a little self-righteous attitude, Lucy sets off to find the little girl herself and prove to the world she was right about Justin Beckett all along.
What do you think about repeat child molesters? Should it be one and done no matter the cost?