Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Beginning of Change

Sometimes all it takes is one phone call to restore your trust in our legislative system. Several weeks ago, upon learning that the charge of sexual indecency with a child was classified as "not deniable" for parole, I made several phone calls to state legislators. I was unable to talk to anyone, but left messages with every person I called. I assumed that I would get no response, and would need to continue to call until I got my point across that I wanted to talk to them.

Last night on my way home from work I received a phone call from Senator Percy Malone. While I am not one of his constituents, he was the first legislator I called. For those of you who are not familiar with the work of Senator Malone, during his lengthy terms as a state representative and state senator, he has been a champion for the protection of abuse survivors and the punishment of sexual offenders. He was instrumental in changing the statute of limitations for sexual abuse and operates a task force on childhood abuse and neglect.

When I explained to Senator Malone why I called, he was very suprised. Like I was upon learning the classification of the charge, he was completely taken aback that the Parole Board had no option to deny parole for David. After explaining the particulars of my (and so many other survivors of David's) abuse, he was as disturbed as I am (as I know many of you are).

For those of you reading this that are survivors, family members of survivors, friends of survivors, or just concerned about the possibility of an imminent release for David, know that there are wheels in motion to try to keep David in prison.

Looking past actually keeping David in prison, there is a larger issue here. My question to Senator Malone was what could be done to keep this from happening again. In the spring Senator Malone's task force on childhood abuse and neglect will convene in preparation for the 2012 legislative session. He assures me that one of the main items on the agenda will be changing the law regarding the classification of sexual indecency with a child. He invited me to come testify before the taskforce, which I would gladly do dozens of times if it prevents one person from dealing with this specific issue again.

This is all good news. Don't assume any of it is over though. Continue to apply pressure to those in power to do everything they can to keep David in prison. Continue to apply pressure to the lawmakers to do everything they can to get this law changed. Everything has been set in motion, but until the law is signed it's not safe to assume that it will just happen.


Post a Comment