Gov. Schwarzenegger signs Chelsea’s Law
The deaths of two teenage girls in California have led the state to pass a new law that tightens penalties for sexual predators. Known as Chelsea’s Law (AB 1844), named after 17-year-old Chelsea King, who was killed in March after being abducted in San Diego, the new law will, among other things, enact a one-strike, life without parole sentencing option for the most dangerous sexual offenders.
Chelsea’s Law also will increase sentences for forcible sex crimes; increase parole terms for those who target children under age 14, including lifetime parole; restrict sex offenders from entering parks; require sex offenders’ risk assessment scores be made public through the Megan’s Law website; revise California’s mentally disordered offender laws to provide for continued detention of offenders where evaluation and assessment deem necessary; and require the state to implement a first-in-the-nation containment model and dynamic risk assessment structure.
“When a terrible tragedy like what happened to Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, [a 14-year-old Escondido, Calif., girl who disappeared last year and whose remains were found in March,] occurs, we have to review the laws in place and see where improvements or changes can be made to make our state safer and make it tougher on the predators who want to create victims out of innocent Californians,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
Dubois’ body was found in northern San Diego County three days after sex offender John Albert Gardner was charged in the King case, according to media reports (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20349283,00.html). Schwarzenegger also said he intends to sign three measures sponsored by Moe Dubois, Amber Dubois’ father, that will help better coordinate state and local resources to find missing children. “This is a day that marks so much in our lives, and we are honored that Governor Schwarzenegger has chosen to sign Chelsea’s Law in San Diego,” said Chelsea’s parents Brent and Kelly King.