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Officials ask for legislators' help to stop sex crimes

LAWRENCEVILLE -- State Rep. Josh Clark, R-Buford, was amazed what he found as he rode along with Gwinnett police officers recently.

"They laughed as we took them to jail," Clark said of perpetrators caught keeping a house of prostitution at a "massage parlor." The criminals said they had been busted before and they would be back in business again, as soon as they got out of jail. "It's a quality of life issue that is affecting all of us."

Clark said Monday he is "on board" with a request from Gwinnett officials to change laws, allowing law enforcement to seize property of those committing sex crimes. The change, said legislative liaison Susan Lee, would allow police to actually shut down the problem places.

"(Police) would like to keep these folks from going back into business as soon as they get out of jail," Lee said.

The request was among a spate of legislation county government leaders requested of legislators during an annual meeting prior to the convening of the General Assembly in January.

Many of the provisions are requests that have lingered for years, like a proposed $10 technology fee on citations to pay for an e-ticketing program.

But locals are also looking to leaders for some help on some complex problems. For example, law enforcement often has issues helping people in need of mental health treatment.

Lee talked about a recent case of a man threatening to kill himself who, because he lived near two schools, led to the schools being locked down.

The situation ended peacefully, but officers could not force the man to get treatment and worried that the next time he reaches a crisis someone could get hurt.

"Their hands are tied and they can't do anything," she said. "We don't want to criminalize it, but want to be able to help so it gets treated."

Sen. Renee Unterman said the same happened when a man threatened to jump off a bridge.

"It's a tough call," she said, adding that she had been in discussions with prosecutors and the sheriff's association about the issue.

Lee said the county had not formulated a bill to propose for that issue, as officials had for others.

Other issues government officials asked for attention include:

-- keeping unpaid surcharges in county coffers, especially in the case of juror fees, which came out of the government budget

-- allow the county to receive EMS reimbursements directly from insurance companies

-- adding another $1 to filing fees in court because of an unintended cut when a portion of fees were redirected

County health and mental health officials also talked to the legislative delegation, asking for attention to funding issues.

Comments

R 1 year, 4 months ago

Considering recent headlines, I admit I actually chuckled for sec when I read this…

Seriously though it’s a sad subject and shares the same problem with dreamer wantabes and we just keep spinning...

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ChristineAustin 1 year, 4 months ago

I find it concerning that Gwinnett County officials are asking to be able to seize property for a misdemeanor offense. How can a misdemeanor offense, that doesn't even warrant jail time, be serious enough to warrant such an egregious punishment? This proposal would make it legal for officials to seize the homes of prostitutes for committing misdemeanor offenses that shouldn't even be considered crimes. I am told that this is an effort to reduce human trafficking. I can support that. human trafficking is a horrible business. However, if human trafficking is the concern why isn't Gwinnett proposing legislation to address human trafficking instead of prostitution?

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kevin 1 year, 4 months ago

We don't seem to have much sex crimes committed by women!! If this is the case, then three convictions and cut it off.

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