Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: child porn

March
3rd

Stop enabling McNeil’s sex predators

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

The Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island exists for two reasons: to protect the public from sexual psychopaths and to get compulsive predators the treatment they need.

Both aims are undermined by residents’ continued access to computers capable of storing and viewing images of children being violated.

Despite harsh consequences, child porn continues to find its way into the commitment center. Last year, federal prosecutors indicted seven sexual offenders at the center, accusing them of possessing hundreds of digital images.

Now eight more residents are facing similar charges. They clearly aren’t deterred by the strong possibility that they will spend the rest of their lives in the Special Commitment Center, if not prison, for proving themselves so bent on reoffending.

Many of the illegal images are found on CDs and DVDs that have been smuggled into the center, where they can be viewed by residents whose privileges include computer access.

Commitment center officials have tried to curtail deviancy by prohibiting computers that can access the Internet or read flash drives. But since offenders are not prison inmates, authorities can only go so far.

Read more »

Jan.
30th

Get tough on child porn customers

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

They are the images that break the hearts of even the toughest cops and prosecutors.

The images show young children, many of them infants and most of them under the age of 5, being sexually exploited in ways the average person couldn’t even begin to fathom. Photos and videos of little children being raped – repeatedly and brutally – circle the world on the Internet, exchanged among the sick society of pedophiles.

Law enforcement can prosecute these monsters, but it needs an upgraded set of tools in an age when the evidence is shared across secretive computer networks.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna has been trying to get those tools for three years now. The Legislature is again considering bills he has requested – House Bill 2424 and Senate Bill 6397 – to make it easier to prosecute those who view online images of child sexual abuse and hand down longer sentences. Read more »

Jan.
29th

Coming this weekend: Fighting child porn, making light rail work

Here’s what we’re working on for Sunday and Monday:

It’s not easy to prosecute those who view child pornography, but it could be a little less difficult if the lawmakers passed legislation requested by state Attorney General Rob McKenna. That legislation would give law enforcement an upgraded set of tools to fight despicable crimes whose evidence is shared across secretive computer networks.

A fight’s brewing in Bellevue that will affect how useful Sound Transit’s light rail is to South Sound users. The Bellevue City Council, backed by powerful downtown and anti-light rail interests, wants the line to either skirt downtown

Read more »

Oct.
1st

Who’s bringing the ‘candy’ into the Special Commitment Center?

Consider the source, but we’ve gotten several letters from sexual predators at the McNeil Island Special Commitment Center who insist that child pornography is getting into the place through staff members. (Seven of the center’s sex offenders were recently indicted for possessing child porn.)

One writes:

For the past four years I have been at the center, all of our incoming mail is first X-rayed, then is checked closely by the SCC mailroom staff when residents open their mail. Pictures that come in from our family and friends are looked at closely before we are allowed to have them.

Read more »

Sep.
17th

Strange but true: Child porn on McNeil Island

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

One of the seven sex offenders busted for child porn Thursday at the Special Commitment Center had been twice convicted of child rape.

Another of sexual assault, indecent liberties and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Another of lewd and lascivious acts toward a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and indecent liberties.

You get the idea.

Ordinary sex offenders don’t wind up in the center on McNeil Island. They constitute a tiny fraction of all such criminals. They must have proven themselves to be compulsive career predators. They must clear the high legal hurdle for commitment: a formal court finding that they continue to pose a dire threat to society as “sexually violent predators.”
Read more »