Bizarre Court Decision: Child Molesters Can Visit Children
|Sure, you can visit the children....|
According to the ruling, convicted child molesters could have visitation rights with their victims as long they never served a prison term for molesting them.
This decision came down in People v. Miguel Ochoa in the California Court of Appeals in San Joaquin County. As part of a plea bargain in Ochoa's Superior Court case, the court dropped the sex offense charge involving a girl referred to as Ang. in court documents. Still Ochoa agreed to pay restitution to her.
Ochoa pleaded guilty to sex offenses against two other girls.
The lower court said Ochoa was not allowed to visit Ang, nor any of the other girls involved in his alleged crimes. The penal code section regarding visitation rights of sex offenders states: Whenever "a person is sentenced to the state prison on or after January 1, 1993, for [certain sex offenses], and the victim of one or more of those offenses is a child under the age of 18 years, the court shall prohibit all visitation between the defendant and the child victim."
So Ochoa then appealed to the court of appeals. The justices wrote: "The issue here is whether the statute's prohibition on visitation includes only child victims of offenses for which a defendant was sentenced to prison. Based on the plain language of the statute, the answer is 'yes.'"
The justices seem to provide the courts with an 'out': "We are not called upon here to discuss other laws that may authorize a trial court to limit or prohibit contact between sex offenders and child victims in appropriate circumstances."
In other words: maybe another law would close this loophole and keep child molesters away from visiting kids.
Doesn't that just make everyone feel better?
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