Saturday, February 23, 2013

TX - District attorney calls laws against juvenile sex offenders outdated

Original Article

02/22/2013

By Ryan Wolf (Facebook)

Tough talk from Cameron County's District Attorney Luis Saenz who calls current state laws dealing with juvenile offenders out-of-touch with reality.

"We need to make changes to the juvenile code that take into account that the juvenile of right now is not the same one," he said. "The juvenile of 2013 is committing horrendous acts, murdering people, butchering people and committing crimes that are unspoken and unheard of."

He says Texas laws against juveniles haven't changed since the early 1970's.

"The code contemplated that the juvenile to have the frame of mind to be stealing hub-caps or maybe breaking into a car," the district attorney said.

It's a far cry from the recent case of a teen who admitted to sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl in Harlingen.

The 16-year-old boy was ordered to rehab at a treatment center south of Austin that deals with sexual behavior issues.

A judge refused to order him to register as a sex offender causing outrage not only with the victim's family but with the public as well.

Thousands of people turned to social media sites like Facebook to voice their frustration.

Many blamed the judge in the case.

The district attorney says to blame the law.

"It's human nature that we all want to blame somebody," Luis said. "We all want to take it out on somebody. But I think taking it out on the judge is misplaced. Again, he followed the law. He followed the code as it's supposed to be followed."

In the last 46 juvenile sex abuse cases in Cameron County, Luis says none have resulted in the offender having to register as a sex offender because the focus has been on trying to save them.

"That may be easy to understand in theory, but when you apply it to actual life, when you have a 5-year-old that's been violated, then the theory falls apart," Luis said.

It's a frustrating reality he hopes to see changed.

The parents of the 5-year-old who was sexually abused have reached out to Senator Eddie Lucio II.

They're urging him to file legislation to make punishments stiffer for juvenile sex offenders.

The district attorney urges others to contact their local legislator to take similar action.



1 comment :

Eric Knight said...

Note that the only thing that made the public "cry (out)" is the fact that that juvenile will not be included on a registry. That proves the registry is more of a punishment for former offenders than, well, court punishment sentencing.