Letter from Barack Obama

Back in January 2006 I was a 21 year old college sophomore. I wrote then Senator Barack Obama on sex offender laws and better ways to protect children. This was his response back to me. Whether he actually wrote it or someone from his office, I will hold the President accountable to this he signed his name to this letter. He clearly states “The time to act is now!” He closes with, “I assure you that protecting our nation’s children is on my mind.” Well It’s time for me to remind our now President 5 years later the time to act is NOW.  He is responding to me about getting tougher laws on sex offenders. At the time I did not write him about educating kids. I later decided to direct my attention to educating kids and the power to use their voice. Watch me get his attention to take Erin’s Law SB2843 national to protect our nations children not just the state of Illinois.

January 30, 2006

Dear Erin:

Thank you for writing to me about sex offender laws. You sound like an incredibly brave person, and I appreciate you taking the time to share some of your experiences with me. Nobody should ever have to suffer as you have. To protect children from sexual abuse, the Senate has worked on several bills, including Dru’s Law, the Jessica Lunford and Sara Lunde Act and the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Dru’s Law would create a national sex offender registry, which would be searchable by zip code for all offenders in an area, regardless of state lines.  Our current system is unable to adequately track offenders who move from state to state.  Dru’s Law would also require the notification of state prosecutors upon the release of a high-risk offender who has served a full sentence. This would allow the state prosecutor to consider a civil commitment.  Additionally, released offenders would be tracked and monitored for at least one year through electronic bracelet, monitoring by a parole officer, or other appropriate means.  This monitoring would strengthen existing mechanisms to prevent future instances of abuse.

The Senate has passed Dru’s Law (S.792).  I am proud to be a cosponsor of this critical piece of legislation, which now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.  As your U.S. Senator and a father of two young daughters, I understand the need to do everything in our power to protect our children, and I view Dru’s Law as a critical component of this effort.  Illinois Attorney General Madigan has also endorsed Dru’s Law, and I urge the House of Representatives to act expeditiously to pass S.792. The time to act is now.

The Jessica Lunsford and Sara Lunde Act (S.1407) directs the Attorney General to award grants to state and local governments to track child sex offenders with electronic monitoring units, and to report to Congress on the effectiveness of such monitoring. This Act has not been passed yet by the Senate. Finally, the Sex Offender Registration Act (S.1086) has also been introduced to address the tracking and registering of sex offenders. These two bills, as well as Dru’s law, reflect some of the provisions established in Florida’s Jessica’s law.

I hope Congress will take timely action on these bills, because I believe they are important steps to protect children. That said, most sex crimes are state law offenses prosecuted by the local States Attorney’s office. To seek changes in state laws and in the way crimes are prosecuted, I encourage you to communicate with your State Senator, John Millner (217-782-8192) and your State Representative, Paul Froehlich (217-782-3725).

Again, Erin, thank you for writing, and please stay in touch in the days to come. I assure you that protecting our nation’s children is on my mind.

Barack Obama
United States Senator


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