Monday, May 01, 2006


Finally, somebody had the honesty to say it out loud.

Perdue signs bill cracking down on sex offenders

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday signed into law tough new legislation cracking down on sexual predators in Georgia, a move supporters hope will prompt the worst offenders to leave the state.

"Our strongest obligation is to keep Georgia citizens safe, especially our children," Perdue said.

The law places strict new limits on where those offenders may live, work and loiter after being released from prison.

It boosts prison sentences for even first-time offenders and makes it a crime to harbor a sex offender. Those deemed sexually dangerous predators would have to wear electronic monitoring bracelets for life once they were released from prison and pay for the cost themselves.

The bill was pushed as a key part of the Republican agenda this legislative session and GOP lawmakers, as well as Perdue, are expected to campaign on the issue in the fall elections.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen said he wanted to tighten Georgia's laws in response to the killing of Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old Florida girl who was raped and killed by a sex offender.

"The horrors of sex crimes, especially those committed against children, leave lasting scars on their victims," Keen, of St. Simons Island, said.

The new law stipulates that sex offenders cannot live, work or loiter with 1,000 feet of schools, child care centers, bus stops or other places where children congregate.

But Sara Totonchi, public policy director for Southern Center for Human Rights, said that portion of the law was likely to drive sex offenders to the rural areas of the state that have less resources to treat and supervise the offenders.

"We believe that this legislation casts the net so broadly that it will make monitoring people on the (sex offender) registry next to impossible," Totonchi said.

The legislation was modified as it moved through the state Legislature to ensure that teens who have sex with their slightly younger peers don't fall under the plan's harsh penalties.

So this law is intended to make registered sex offenders move to another state? I did not know the character of Georgians had fallen so low -- but here it is, in print!!

(Maybe, to be fair, it's all the damnyankees who've moved in.)


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