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Tougher penalties needed for pedophiles

I am a local political activist. I brought up the issue of child endangerment to the local press during the school override election for Apache Junction Unified School District. I also raised the issue during city council meetings and in the blogs.

I demanded a 10-year mandatory jail sentence for sex crimes. I also demanded improved background screening. But, nothing has been done.

On Feb. 19, the third case of alleged pedophilia was reported in our local press since last October – four months and three cases – involving people in the Apache Junction school system.

High school teacher Johnathan Krieger (also known as John Snell and Johnathan Raye) was arrested for alleged sexual contact with a minor.

He has been a teacher at Sequoia Charter School in Mesa and Apache Trail High School in Apache Junction.

I believe routine fingerprinting and background checks would help the state avoid problems tracking suspected child molesters who use different names. There’s a clear cultural aversion to thorough background checking and fingerprinting in Arizona.

The penalty for the last two offenders in Apache Junction was simply 20 years’ probation – not even one day of jail. I don’t think this is a deterrent.

I believe an emergency shutdown should occur in all Arizona public schools similar to what was talked about for H1N1 virus or for weather. This is a statewide problem, and it’s an emergency.

- Elliott E. Fisher, Apache Junction

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