Gaps in the System

The following post was written by a Marsy's Law for Iowa supporter. Due to her circumstances and situation, she chooses to remain anonymous, but still wanted to share her story to help illustrate the dangerous gaps in Iowa's system. Iowa victims have powerful testimonies and we are humbled by their bravery and allowing us to be a small part in sharing their stories. 

 

I am writing today to advocate for Marsy’s Law for Iowa, because I know firsthand that even though we think we have systems that are working, there are serious gaps that affect people’s lives and safety, and only a constitutional amendment can close them. I am writing anonymously for my safety, as my offender’s family still lives in my Iowa community.

 

When I was married, my husband used to violently abuse me. I tried to keep all that I could from my daughter and our son, but his violence permeated our home and kept us all in fear. Eventually, I was able to leave him, for the good of my family and I have never regretted that decision. I knew it was what I had to do to keep my children safe. However, after leaving him, I was devastated to learn that my ex-husband also sexually abused my daughter when she was only 10 years old. Because my daughter was so afraid of him, she was too worried to disclose this to me; I only found out because he told his therapist approximately two months after we were separated. 

 

Luckily, he was sent to prison and I was given a lifetime "special sentence", which I also added a no-contact order, to protect my children and me from him for the rest of our lives. He is also a lifetime sex offender and cannot be around children. Last fall, he was released from prison to a halfway home, then released from that home to the public, which included electronic monitoring via an ankle bracelet. Because I am a proactive person, I reached out to his parole officer to be an active participant in my own safety. He had been trying to contact my friends via social media, which I understood as an attempt to find out where I was, and I informed his parole officer so that the PO knew what to be aware of. I also know his offender number, am a registered victim with the State of Iowa, and get Iowa VINE updates about his whereabouts – I work hard to keep myself safe, and I would’ve expected the state to work hard, too.

 

However, despite taking advantage of all the ways that the law allows me to stay informed of his location, I was not informed when he absconded from custody of parole. He absconded on Dec. 21, and I was not informed until Jan. 8For three weeks, my life and the lives of my children were in danger, and no one informed me. Once I did learn and was able to safety plan, he was still not found until Jan. 31, and I had to proactively reach out to his parole officer in order to understand where he was. I also had to proactively contact the Sex Offender Registry in order for them to update his status as "whereabouts unknown", so that others would understand there was a sexual offender who had absconded. With these actions, I also learned the person who is in charge of updating these offenders' whereabouts, only does so once a month. That is more than unacceptable. This information is urgent to victims' knowledge and should be updated as soon as the authorities are aware.  

 

This should not happen. Even though I did everything allowable by law in order to stay safe and informed, I still spent three weeks uninformed about the location of my offender. Thankfully, my family is safe and he is back in custody, but anyone who thinks that the law as it stands is strong enough, and that there aren’t gaps, is just wrong.

 

We must have a constitutional amendment in order to keep victims safe and aware. My safety was clearly not as important as it should have been, and the law is not enough to protect victims. A constitutional amendment will help protect victims and elevate their rights to an equal level as offenders. Nothing can be more important than keeping victims and their families safe. We must pass Marsy’s Law for Iowa.


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  • Mary Matthew
    commented 2018-10-01 22:31:52 -0500
    Being told that your twin daughters rape kits have been backlogged since May and is now October 1, 2018 is a Mother and fathers worst nightmare to hear after being told these things take time. Being told you have to be patient. Other states have time limits and standards they have to meet to have the results complete. This is SOLELY for the sake of the suffering. Those who have done the right thing as elementary school students and told their Mom. Their Mom believes in every word they said. 2 things done correctly for the victims. Now to get them help and counseling. Mental health is lacking the number of licensed practitioners to handle the work load. Many news articles read excuses on how they are receiving more rape kits. Of COURSE THEY ARE! THESE PEDOPHILES WALK FREE until forensic results are obtained. We aren’t the only ones fighting this battle of the heart strings. My children are suffering and manifesting symptoms totally out of their personality. They don’t know why they are stealing money from famiy or becoming physical with family and doesnt even realize the coincidences this cab have on their young adulthilood. These perpetrators need off the streets. Justice needs served. My girls need to be able to heal. Instead our home life is getting worse and mental health is so backed up nobody sees the importance of the comparison on ABC’S. A-AIRWAY.THINK OF THUS IS THE MOTHER OR PARENTS. WITHOUT THE AIRWAY ONE HAS WHAT? A DEAD BODY. BREATHING IS THE KJDS. THEY HAVE CHURCH FAMILY AND COUNSELING. STILL YET 6 WKS OUT TO SEE A PSYCH Dr. I am at a breaking point. Idk what to do.Amymore, I am losing faith in what is right.
  • Mary Matthew
    commented 2018-10-01 22:31:50 -0500
    Being told that your twin daughters rape kits have been backlogged since May and is now October 1, 2018 is a Mother and fathers worst nightmare to hear after being told these things take time. Being told you have to be patient. Other states have time limits and standards they have to meet to have the results complete. This is SOLELY for the sake of the suffering. Those who have done the right thing as elementary school students and told their Mom. Their Mom believes in every word they said. 2 things done correctly for the victims. Now to get them help and counseling. Mental health is lacking the number of licensed practitioners to handle the work load. Many news articles read excuses on how they are receiving more rape kits. Of COURSE THEY ARE! THESE PEDOPHILES WALK FREE until forensic results are obtained. We aren’t the only ones fighting this battle of the heart strings. My children are suffering and manifesting symptoms totally out of their personality. They don’t know why they are stealing money from famiy or becoming physical with family and doesnt even realize the coincidences this cab have on their young adulthilood. These perpetrators need off the streets. Justice needs served. My girls need to be able to heal. Instead our home life is getting worse and mental health is so backed up nobody sees the importance of the comparison on ABC’S. A-AIRWAY.THINK OF THUS IS THE MOTHER OR PARENTS. WITHOUT THE AIRWAY ONE HAS WHAT? A DEAD BODY. BREATHING IS THE KJDS. THEY HAVE CHURCH FAMILY AND COUNSELING. STILL YET 6 WKS OUT TO SEE A PSYCH Dr. I am at a breaking point. Idk what to do.Amymore, I am losing faith in what is right.
  • Linda Torres-Godlewski
    commented 2018-05-01 19:33:56 -0500
    I firmly believe there are gaps in the law for victims of abuse. This causes victims to be vulnerable for further abuse and feelings of helplessness and uncertainty. I support Marsy’s law.