Hails measure as part of an ongoing battle against sexual predators
SAN DIEGO â€” Thursday, Governor Schwarzenegger singed into law Assembly Bill 1844 (AB 1844 – Fletcher). This measure, also known as â€œChelseaâ€™s Law,â€ was introduced by Assembly member Nathan Fletcher from San Diego and co-authored by State Senator Lou Correa (Orange County).
AB 1844 significantly strengthens the law regarding punishments of sex offenders. Under Chelseaâ€™s law, a sex predator that kidnaps, drugs, binds and tortures or uses a weapon while committing a sex crime against a child would face life in prison without parole. This measure will also increase parole terms for those who target children under the age of 14,Â and includes provisions to restrict sex offendersâ€™ abilities to enter parks.
State Senator Lou Correa (Orange County) issued the following statement on the successful signing of the Correa co-authored measure:
â€œA crime against a child is despicable. Sex crimes are crimes against an individualâ€™s soul, a young victimâ€™s life is changed beyond repair, and that is morally reprehensible. As a co-author of Chelseaâ€™s Law, I am very pleased to see that the Governor has signed this very important measure. Statistics show that on the average, a sex predator strikes eight times before he or she is apprehended. Â Â As legislators and as a society, we have to do everything we can to stop individuals who commit these horrible crimes before they strike again. One victim is one too many. Â AB 1844 is a good measure and part of a continuing process to press for greater protections for our children and put away these types of predators once and for all.â€
This measure was preceded by earlier measures, such as Correaâ€™s Assembly Bill 1742, which eliminated the statute of limitations on rape cases in which DNA evidence identified a suspect.
The change in AB 1742 was a major reform from California’s previous six-year limit on prosecution of rape cases. AB 1742 now requires a suspect identified through DNA testing to be prosecuted within one year of the test. This is a necessary step in an age of advancing forensic technology. The Correa measure closed the loophole that allowed rapists who had been identified as the likely criminal through DNA, to escape prosecutionÂ under the previous narrow statute of limitations.
In closing, Senator Correa added: â€œChelseaâ€™s Law is a long awaited answer for victims and their families who have experienced heinous crimes perpetrated by violent sex offenders. I commend the tireless work and perseverance of Assemblymember Fletcher on leading a bipartisan effort that resulted in AB 1844. I applaud Governor Schwarzeneggerâ€™s signing of Chelseaâ€™s legacy into law, as one of a number of needed tools in the fight against these predators.â€
Senator Lou Correa represents the 34th District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Stanton and Westminster.