0

Too many states ignore threat of child predators

For those of you who still believe the justice system in America is working, consider the following. For three years, 46-year-old Andrew Selva sexually brutalized two boys, ages 5 and 12, in a small town outside of Columbus, Ohio. In a plea bargain, Selva admitted to the court that he raped the boys in a variety of ways. By all accounts, it was savage criminal activity.

But when Selva appeared for sentencing before Ohio Judge John Connor, he received no prison time at all. Instead, Connor placed him on probation saying: ''He's got a disease like I've got a disease. I don't know that prison would have helped, except for revenge, and revenge is not in the sentencing guidelines.''

What the sentencing guidelines did call for was a 10-year stretch in a state prison. But Connor believes he knows better, so it is probation for a child rapist. By the way, the ''disease'' Connor referenced in his own case is apparently alcohol-related, the judge has at least two DUI convictions on his sheet.

This kind of sentencing insanity is increasing across the country because many states, like Ohio, have no mandatory minimum prison terms for child predators and, as we all know, there is no shortage of loony judges like Connor.

While some states have passed Jessica's Law, which harshly punishes child molesters, other states simply will not do anything. The following are the most dangerous to a child's welfare.

•Vermont: Even after the national scandal of Judge Edward Cashman sentencing the rapist of an 8-year-old girl to just 60 days in prison (under pressure, Cashman later revised the sentence to a paltry three years), the Vermont Legislature failed to pass mandatory minimums for child sexual predators. The effort was blocked by Democrats, and Republican Gov. Jim Douglas refused to get involved.

•New York: Despite overwhelming bipartisan support for Jessica's Law, Democrat New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continues to single-handedly block any vote. Gov. George Pataki vows to go around Silver.

•Maryland: No mandatory minimums for sexual crimes against children. The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat Joseph Vallario, has consistently blocked efforts to pass Jessica's Law.

•Massachusetts: Absolutely no mandated protection for kids who are brutalized sexually. The judge is free to bestow any sentence. Speaker of the House Sal Dimasi, a Democrat, has killed every piece of tough sex offender legislation that has been introduced.

•Wyoming: No minimum prison sentences and no GPS tracking for convicted sex offenders. Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, doesn't seem to care.

•Arkansas: No minimum prison sentences. Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, doesn't seem to care.

•Tennessee: No minimum prison terms for child sex crimes. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen doesn't seem to care.

•Idaho: No minimum prison terms for child sex crimes. Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne doesn't seem to care.

•North Dakota: No minimum prison sentences for any sexual acts with minors. Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican, says he is ''studying'' ways to change that.

Also, the states of Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, Kansas, and Montana have weak laws protecting kids - but at least there are politicians in those states trying to change things.

In the Ohio case where the child rapist received parole, and in the Vermont case where the man who raped the little girl initially got 60 days, the three victims were poor kids. Their parents had no money, no influence, and no hope of challenging the wicked judges. I submit those awful sentences would not have been handed down if the rapists had abused wealthy children.

But be that as it may. Any state that will not severely punish an adult who rapes a child is a disgraceful state. And everybody living there should know it.

Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His column appears on Friday. His "Radio Factor" can be heard weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.