#Children's Rights
Colorado Legislature
United States of America

This petition was created to ensure the predator who assaulted our son will face fair justice. For those of you who don't know our family, my son is nine years old and Autistic. Recently we learned that he was a victim of sexual abuse. Not just once.....or twice..... but over a span of much too long by a person in a position of trust. A family friend who was able to easily intimidate and coerce him because of his disability.

Below is statistical information on how much MORE prevalent sexual assault is in those who have DD's. This particular man has abused several children, and my son would've most likely stayed silent if not for the victim who followed him. Because she had no disability, she immediately reported this man, paving the way for Zechariah's disclosure. We are forever grateful for this young girl's bravery and the support of her parents in getting this man locked up. He is currently awaiting trial, and anything LESS than 25 to life is nothing short of unacceptable. Please help us to protect our children through pro-active means! Let legislature know we will not sit by and let these crimes go under-punished.

Studies indicate that people with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to have acts of violence committed against them.[1] Dick Sobsey, Associate Director of the JP Das Developmental Disabilities Centre and Director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, found that 80% out of 162 people with developmental and substantial disabilities who had been sexually assaulted had been sexually assaulted more than once.[3] According to research people with disabilities are at a greater risk for victimization of sexual assault or sexual abuse because of lack of understanding.[4]

Sobsey estimates that between 15,000 and 19,000 individuals with developmental disabilities experience rape each year. There are several reasons why developmentally disabled individuals are especially prone to sexual abuse, the most significant of which is the ingrained reliance on the caregiver authority figure. Emotional and social insecurities, lack of knowledge and training in sex education, and powerless position in society have been noted as further causes of frequent exploitation.[3] About 20% of females and 10% of males are sexually abused in the US every year. The percentage is even higher among people with disabilities. According to research, more than 90% of people with developmental disabilities will experience some form of sexual abuse at some time in their lives. 49% will experience 10 or more abusive incidents.[5]

Other studies suggest 68% of girls with developmental disabilities and 30% of boys with developmental disabilities will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. According to research 15,000 to 19,000 people with developmental disabilities are raped each year in the United States.

1.) Increase the penalty for lewd and lascivious molestation of an "At Risk" child to life in prison or a split sentence of a mandatory 25-year prison term, followed by lifetime supervision with electronic monitoring.

2.) Increase, from 20 to 30 years, the period before a sexual predator allowed to petition to have the sexual predator designation removed.

3.) Increase sexual predator/offender registration and reporting requirements.

4.) Sexual predators who murder their victims now qualify for the death penalty in capital cases.

5.) Failing to re-register as a sexual offender/predator, harboring, or assisting a sexual predator/offender is a third degree felony.

6.) Require those already convicted of sex crimes to have electronic monitoring for the rest of their probation.

7.) Require all county misdemeanor probation officials to search the sexual offender registry when a new offender assigned to them.

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The Mandatory 25 to Life For Sex Offenders of "At Risk" Youth petition to Colorado Legislature was written by Melissa Steinmetz and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.