Friday, February 28, 2003
One victim's family said they had no idea a rapist lived nearby.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- Small buttons with pictures of Kristen Jackson gleamed as her mother, Sharon, and Wayne County Prosecutor Martin Frantz urged lawmakers to approve legislation requiring public notification when any person convicted of rape moves into a neighborhood.
The pair, accompanied by Kristen's father, Mark, and older sister, Katie, briefly described Tuesday the girl's kidnapping, rape and dismemberment at the hands of a convicted rapist living 500 feet from their home.
"On the evening of Sept. 9, 2002, our lives would be changed forever," Sharon Jackson told the Ohio House of Representatives' Criminal Justice Committee.
The committee is considering House Bill 39, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Carmichael of Wooster, R-7th, which would require county sheriffs to notify residents when anyone who has been convicted or pleaded guilty to rape moves within 1,000 feet of their homes.
Jackson and Frantz maintained that had they been notified the man lived in the neighborhood, the Jacksons could have warned their children and the crime may never have happened.
"We as a family didn't know that there was a sex offender living in our neighborhood," Mrs. Jackson told the committee. "I feel if I would have had this knowledge, I would have protected my daughters from this evil beast."
Frantz said the killer served 15 years for rape and had been released just six months before Kristen's death.
Committee members also heard emotional testimony from a woman whose stepson was molested by his uncle.
Terra Mullins questioned why Ohio's sex crime laws are "too lenient" and asked committee members to take action.
Carmichael said he thinks the committee will act quickly. The legislation may be combined with another bill also aimed at strengthening sex offender notification laws.