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Letter: Lawmakers must protect children

The North Dakota attorney general's Sex Offender and Offenders Against Children Registry broke the 1,300-offender mark recently.

I began tracking it on Jan. 15 when it was at 1,233 and it is on track to increase by more than 10 percent this year.

Perhaps the most frightening part of this number is that almost 70 percent of these offenders are on our streets, with Fargo and the Bismarck-Mandan area the favorite places of residence for these people.

In April, our state legislators, knowing full well that Gov. John Hoeven's administration had no policies in place to protect at-risk children from these offenders, quietly changed the administrative law to include 18- to 21-year-olds in the foster care treatment programs, which now include some adult sex offenders.

Many e-mails to our legislator about this out-of-control problem have gone unanswered, including one to Hoeven. The state's Department of Human Services and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation believe that these deviants can be rehabilitated even though there is no data to support this belief. One legislator even went so far as to tell me that we need to change the law to reduce this skyrocketing number.

For those of you who aren't aware of some of the facts, our system has continually handed out minimal sentences for the rape and killing of infants and other sexual offenses this past year.

The newest members of this group include a county social worker convicted of possession of child pornography, the rapist of a 14-year-old, the rapist of an 80-year-old and two rapists of infants under age 2.

In addition, the state psychologist responsible for the risk assessment of these offenders was caught up in a sting with thousands of pieces of child pornography on his computer.

With the November election fast approaching, we need to demand that our state legislators take some action to curtail this spiraling number from continuing, actions other than changing the laws to reduce the number of dregs that are coming to our state. We have to protect our most valuable resource, our children.

John Ford

Rugby, N.D.