Author of landmark sex offender law says ‘challenge to sex predator law is without merit’
Sen. George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) released the following statements in response to the California Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday to hear a challenge to Jessica’s Law. 2006’s landmark sex offender law, was passed by 70 percent of California voters:
“The best interests of convicted child rapists and other sexual predators cannot be elevated above the rights of their victims and the legitimate responsibility of the state to protect our children.”
Responding to a case brought to the Supreme Court by Richard McKee, convicted of molesting two girls ages 11 and eight, Runner said:
“McKee, like most sexually violent predators, had been committed to a mental facility for treatment following a trial in which 12 jurors unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt found that McKee had a diagnosed mental illness which made it likely that he would re-offend and sexually molest children if given the chance.
“McKee claims that his indefinite civil commitment to a mental hospital violates his federal constitutional rights, but has offered no cases to support his argument. Most significantly, McKee has not claimed he has been cured or that his mental “abnormality no longer causes him to be a threat to others” as required by state law. McKee, who has been diagnosed as having pedophilia and a schizoaffective disorder, simply claims that the state has to reenact very expensive jury trials every two years to prove that he is still a violent sexual predator even if he has refused treatment (as most sexual predators do) or has shown no signs of progress.
“Child rapists like McKee already have more than ample procedural rights under the law. California (unlike some states) requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt before a person may be declared a “violent sexual predator” and civilly committed to a mental hospital. In addition, the California Department of Mental Health must petition the court to release persons whose condition has “so changed that the person no longer meets the definition of sexually violent predator.” Moreover, McKee himself can petition the court each year if he believes his condition has changed.
“Instead of trying to prove he is no longer a threat because his condition has improved, McKee has a history of refusing medication and denying that he molested children. There is simply no rational reason to assume that a diagnosed pedophile like McKee will be cured by watching TV in a mental institution.”
Runner also commented on a second challenge to Jessica’s Law regarding prohibiting sexual offenders from living near schools. This case relates to a very narrow group of sex offenders who had served their sentences before voters approved Jessica’s Law and was not, according to Runner, likely to impact future application of the law.