Letters to the Editor

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STALKING: New law will help protect victims

Letter by Ken Paulson, Tacoma on April 25, 2013 at 10:34 am with No Comments »
April 25, 2013 2:19 pm

This Saturday ends a three-year pursuit for a better way to protect those who are stranger stalked, like my daughter Jennifer Paulson. Gov. Jay Inslee will be in Tacoma at Birney Elementary School at 11:30 a.m. to sign the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act. All are welcome to attend.

When this bill goes into effect, it will separate stalking from anti-harassment orders; therefore, the criminal justice system hopefully will place the importance all the state legislators placed on protecting the stranger-stalked. This may require extra effort on the “systems” part to learn about and know the perpetrator in order to protect the victim.

This act provides for longer jail terms, real-time GPS monitoring, mental health evaluations and immediate arrest upon violation. It gives the tools the system needs. Now the criminal justice system needs to use the tools.

A big thank you goes to state Rep. Roger Goodman, R-Kirkland, and state Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, who sponsored companion bills this year. Goodman’s efforts started in the summer of 2010.

The bill came out of an attorney general working group in 2011. Thanks to all in the working group and former Attorney General Rob McKenna. Another thank you for the wording tweaks this last year by King County Deputy Prosecutor David Martin.

Many others may remain out of the public eye but played a part. Thank you to all.

(Paulson is the father of Jennifer Paulson, a Birney Elementary School teacher murdered in 2010 by a man who had stalked her for years.)

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