State to electronically monitor sex offenders
Seattle Times staff reporters
Gov. Christine Gregoire on Wednesday announced a $400,000 emergency program to electronically monitor 50 of the state's most dangerous sex offenders by the middle of next year.
The move was prompted by the July kidnapping and slaying of 12-year-old Zina Linnik of Tacoma. Gregoire said her emergency budget will fund the monitoring, which includes global positioning system (GPS) tracking.
"There are immediate actions that we can take and they cannot, in my opinion, wait for legislative action," Gregoire said.
State House Republicans earlier this year called for Gregoire to hold a special session to toughen penalties for sex offenders and increase electronic monitoring. The governor said her action this week is "more cost-effective than calling the Legislature in for 30 days."
House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, said his party has pushed for more extensive electronic monitoring for a couple of years. He called Gregoire's move a "step in the right direction."
The governor said the program will start with five high-risk sex offenders this week, and is projected to cover 50 by the middle of next year and to 150 by the middle of 2009.
Under state law, only sex offenders who committed an offense on or after June 7, 2006, can be monitored electronically. Gregoire said she's investigating whether the program can include dangerous sex offenders who committed crimes before that date.
However, the man accused of abducting and killing Linnik, Terapon Adhahn, would not have been covered by the new electronic monitoring program if it had been in effect at the time of the crime because he was classified as a Level 1 sex offender — those least likely to reoffend.
The new program covers only Level 3 offenders, who are considered the most dangerous.
The state plans to monitor high-risk sex offenders who meet certain criteria, such as those who do not have stable housing or stable employment.
More than 300 sex offenders considered at high risk to reoffend are under active supervision in the state.
The governor said she expects the Legislature will replenish her emergency fund and continue and expand the monitoring.
Officials on Wednesday said they plan to use a passive monitoring system that downloads information on offenders' movements at least every 24 hours.
"It's not going to stop offenders from reoffending, but it will help us in holding these folks accountable," said Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Scott Smith, who was at the governor's announcement. "For a certain population, they will hopefully curb their behavior, because they are in fact going to be monitored."
Earlier this month, Gregoire recommended changes to how the state tracks convicted sex offenders, including requiring all of them to have DNA on file with police, as well as electronic monitoring.
Her recommendations were based on a preliminary report by a Sex Offender Task Force that looked into Linnik's death.
The report analyzed the legal options available in 1990, when Adhahn was first arrested by police after he raped a relative, and examined how those options have changed over the years, said Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge, who is leading the task force.
Linnik was abducted July 4 outside her Tacoma home. Her body was found July 12 in east Pierce County. Adhahn is charged with aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape in the abduction and death.
Adhahn was a convicted sex offender who had failed to register his address with police at the time of the Linnik slaying. Adhahn also is facing numerous other charges stemming from attacks on two other girls and is considered a person of interest in the December 2005 abduction and slaying of 10-year-old Adre'Anna Jackson of Tillicum, Pierce County.
In the 1990 case, Adhahn was first charged with second-degree rape but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of incest under the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative program. He was ordered to undergo treatment for sexual deviancy and stay crime-free or face time behind bars.
He later befriended a woman who allowed her 12-year-old daughter to move in with Adhahn, who is accused of raping the girl numerous times.
Information previously reported in The Seattle Times is included in this report. Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company