Mon, Mar 20, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Sex offenders need better oversight, lawmaker says

SYSTEMIC FAILURE?A suspect in the murder of a young woman was found to be a wanted criminal who had failed to attend court-ordered counseling

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sex offenders released on parole or with suspended sentences should be better supervised, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, following the murder of a young woman in Taipei.

Lin said he would push for amendments to the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act (性侵害犯罪防治法) to enforce mandatory counseling and medical treatment ordered for sex offenders by courts.

“The law must be amended to remove loopholes. We have to end the current lax monitoring of sex offenders, as some criminals have committed further sexual assaults after being released back into society,” Lin said.

He cited the case of Cheng Yu (程宇), the main suspect in the murder earlier this month of a model surnamed Chen (陳), who was allegedly strangled to death after being sexually assaulted.

The suspect was found to be a wanted criminal with previous convictions for sexual assault who had failed to attend the mandatory treatment sessions that were a condition of his suspended sentence.

“Cheng failed to show up at hospital for his treatment sessions five consecutive times. However, authorities failed to follow up and enforce his mandatory treatments. In such circumstances, the court should have rescinded the suspended sentence and put him in prison,” Lin said.

Lin also criticized the counseling as ineffective.

“Each session was only one or two hours long, and held only every two to three weeks. The sessions are too infrequent and do not have the desired effect,” he said.

Lin said he would seek to amend Article 22 of the act to give judicial authorities recourse to notify prosecutors if sex offenders fail to attend treatment sessions so that suspended sentences can be rescinded.

He cited official statistics as saying that 415 sex offenders are at large, with 185 listed as wanted while their cases are under investigation, 145 as wanted while their cases are being tried and 85 who are meant to be serving their sentences and have absconded.

Section chief Lai Yu-chia (賴玉佳), of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Prosecutorial Affairs, has acknowledged problems with the enforcement of preventative measures, and last year suggested measures to the Judicial Juan aimed at improving control and monitoring of released sex offenders.

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