Lawmakers: don’t dump sex offenders in Pierce County

OLYMPIA – Legislation sponsored by Democrats and Republicans would change how the state handles the release of sex offenders back into the community.

“For too long, Pierce County has been the convenient place for the state to release sex offenders,” said Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place), author of the Fair Share Act (House Bill 1668) and a former civil prosecutor.

“As the mother of two daughters, I sympathize with families worried about our county being the top destination for so many dangerous predators. It doesn’t have to be this way, and this bill makes sure we have a fair distribution of these individuals across the state.”

Kilduff’s legislation will get a hearing in the House Public Safety Committee at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 6.

Co-sponsors of the bill include four Republican lawmakers and five Democrats.

“This is an important reform to keep children and families safe in Pierce County and the rest of Washington state,” said Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw). “In my career as an undercover officer and detective, I investigated and arrested a lot of dangerous perpetrators, so I know how careful we have to be about releasing them back into the community. This legislation is an important step forward.”

The proposed law would allow judges to consider not only the well-being of victims of convicted sex offenders about to be released, but also the availability of sex offender treatment facilities and whether a disproportionate number of offenders are being released into a county or local community.

“For too many years, our families, police officers and courts have shouldered an unbalanced burden,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “It’s time to restore fairness in how dangerous sex offenders are released in Washington state.”