Ernie says this country suffers from a sense of denial when it comes to crimes against children, and that two laws need to be changed now.
Every single offender needs to be registered and law enforcement needs better tracking systems, Ernie says. Currently, Ernie says there are 31 states where failure to register is a mere misdemeanor. "These guys move around, and they take advantage of the inadequacies of the laws," Ernie says. "We know that these kinds of offenders represent the highest risk of reoffense. So at a minimum, we need to know where they are."
Penalties also need to be strengthened against child sex offenders, Ernie says. Although abuse can happen in families, Ernie says abuse more often occurs by someone outside the home, not necessarily a stranger. "In the vast majority of these cases, the offender wins the confidence of the child," Ernie says. "They target vulnerable kids. They prey on that vulnerability. They approach them with friendship and kindness, and then they victimize them."