Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sex Crimes An Issue In Illinois State Representative Race

From the Rockford Register Star:

ROCKFORD [Illinois] — State Rep. Ron Wait responded Tuesday to a Democratic campaign mailer accusing him of siding with sex offenders. Wait, R-Belvidere, called the mailer, which went to homes in the 69th district, a misleading, negative attack.

“They accuse me of not supporting legislation for victims of sex crimes, but the truth is I voted for the law that gave victims justice,” Wait said. “This is a deliberate attempt by (challenger Greg) Tuite and his Chicago bosses to deceive the voters.”

The mailer, paid for by the Democratic Party of Illinois, is printed on a yellow oversized postcard and features a Monopoly-like character in a prison jumpsuit. It reads “Ron Wait’s Get Out of Jail Free Card: This card may be kept by accused sex offenders until needed.”

There's a picture of the mailer next to the article and I find the headline, "Ron Wait Put An Accused Sex Offender Back On Our Streets" deceptive since it was actually the judge who set bail so it only cost Wait $500 to get that sex offender, the son of family friends, released. The description of Wait's actions aren't deceptive and pointing out how Wait voted in the past is a valid technique.

For me to view this ad as getting Wait's position wrong, I would need to know that he supports House Bill 5021 sponsored by Rep. Mike Boland and Robert F. Flider (both Democrats). Here's the summary:

Amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Provides that the prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or criminal sexual abuse when the victim of any of these offenses is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, may be commenced at any time.

So Rep. Wait, are you doing everything you can to get this bill out of the rules committee and onto the floor so you can vote for it? Or are you trying to do even more by working to get a bill which goes even further than HB 5021 in extending the statute of limitations passed?

If you aren't trying to do one or the other, then the criticism over your position is valid even if the presentation and headline of that ad are overly sensational.

Those are valid questions for all Illinois state legislators running for re-election and for all their challengers including Greg Tuite who is trying to unseat Wait.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

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