By Brent King
Co-founder/President, Chelsea’s Light Foundation
Although she is no longer able to roll up her sleeves in community service as she so often did, Chelsea continues to work for the well being of others through the California legislation that now bears her name.
Signed into law one year ago, Chelsea’s Law (AB1844) enacted legal reforms to further protect children from violent sexual offenders. Put simply, our objective in advocating for this legislation was to protect our children from "the worst of the worst" — sexual predators who target children.
With 19 people charged in San Diego County under Chelsea’s Law, we believe we are meeting our objective here at home. (In order for Chelsea’s Law to be applied, the crime must have occurred after September 9, 2010.) Chelsea’s Light Foundation is now reaching out to district attorneys offices across the state to aggregate similar data from their counties for an accurate 12-month analysis of the law’s impact.
Our hope is that the number will decrease over time as we restrict this segment of the population with not just longer prison and probation terms, but also two other key pieces of Chelsea’s Law, enhanced GPS monitoring during parole and probation and a first-of-its-kind in California “containment model” for monitoring and assessing that includes the use of polygraph testing.
Today, however, the containment model languishes due to a lack of funding. Funding decisions by our legislators evidence what they view as our greatest community priorities. Carefully monitoring released felons who previously sexually assaulted a child should be one of those unmistakable, non-negotiable priorities. We are committed to holding legislators and responsible agencies accountable for this priority and have begun to focus our efforts on seeking ways to fund enhanced GPS monitoring and the containment model to keep our children safe from these released criminals.
Chelsea’s Light Foundation is a San Diego County nonprofit dedicated to the safety and well being of children.