July 14, 2007
Tacoma, Washington: On the evening on July 4th, 2007, 12 year old Zina Linnik walked the alley behind her home to find her siblings and bring them home. Within moments her father heard a scream. He ran into the alley just in time to see a grey van speeding away and Zina gone. The little girl would never be seen alive again.
Several days later a tip to authorities led police to a shallow grave near a hiking path not far from the girls Tacoma,Washington home. The tip came from the prime suspect in the girl’s murder, one Terapon Adhahn. Adhahn is a 42 year old native of Thailand who is also a registered sex offender.
Adhahn was convicted in 1990 of violently raping his half sister. He served an unbelievable, mere 2 month sentence for this crime. Additionally, he was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment. While in therapy, many things were discovered about Adhahn which should have sent “red flags” waiving to those responsible for his care long before the death of Zina Linnick.
Adhahn was diagnosed as a pedophile while in therapy. His therapist was quoted as saying: Adhahn's personality profile is "extremely problematic," noting that he had difficulty taking responsibility for his behavior (which according to reports was the violent rape of his half sister), abused alcohol, felt sexually inadequate and was embarrassed about sexual matters. His counselor, Daniel DeWaelsche also commented in Adhahn’s file that “Adhahn is aware that he will need to use what he has learned through the treatment process on a daily basis in order to remain offense free," "As long as (he) chooses to use these skills and techniques on a daily basis, his potential to recidivate vastly diminishes." Apparently there was little or no follow up on this man. What is even more unnerving is that given all of this information it is hard to believe that Adhahn was actually designated as a level I or low risk sex offender.
Just two years after his first conviction it was clear that Adhahn was in fact not using the skills he had acquired in therapy as he was convicted again, this time of a felony involving intimidation with a deadly weapon. This second offense mandated that he be deported back to Thailand. That never happened.
Authorities are now also looking into 5 other cold cases involving the disappearance and murder of children which may be linked to Adhahn, meaning this man could very well be a serial killer. He is currently being held on a n immigration violation charge but is expected to be charged with Zina’s murder soon.
After well over a decade of Megan’s Law and the variety of retroactively applied laws like it that have followed, one thing is clear – These laws aren’t working as they are purportedly intended to. They are a miserable, costly, and complete failure.
The reason why shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but should outrage us all. Time and again, expert after expert that deals with sex offenders on a daily basis (in the trenches so to speak) have tried in vain to get lawmakers to listen, but they consistently refuse. Systematically, they brush aside and even outright ignore information vital to effective legislation. Lawmakers have blatantly and repeatedly ignored mountains of data that could have saved children like Zina Linnik. Instead, they chose the path of abusing their powers as elected officials, creating laws based political grandstanding and myths instead of facts while lining their pockets with money gained from deals with corporations that could instead play off of a concerted and well orchestrated campaign of fear, hype, and hysteria. A practice in which everyone wins, except for our children.
Rather than focusing energy, money, and law enforcement resources on people like Terapon Adhahn, and the tiny percentage of registered sex offenders who do in fact pose a very serious threat to others and cannot be rehabilitated, they have continued to expand the definition of what constitutes a registered sex offender, endlessly and needlessly filling the system with people like Genarlow Wilson. Genarlow Wilson is the young man from Georgia who is currently serving a ten year sentence for receiving oral sex from a 15 year old girl when he was 17. The act was consensual.
Experts have a very consistent record of differentiating between dangerous and non- dangerous offenders. With great accuracy they can distinguish between those that will re-offend and those who won’t. Law enforcement agents that I have talked to who have been around awhile also are able to discern with great accuracy which ones will and will not re-offend. But no one listens and more often than not they are released back into society with many people knowing that they are literally “ticking time bombs.”
Yet in Capitol buildings across America, most lawmakers continue down the same ineffective and fruitless path of expanding upon these existing laws when they should be narrowing their focus. Their goal is NOT public safety. Their goal instead, is to sweep up as many as they can into the “sex offender net,” which literally buries monsters like Adhahn in the system and ultimately enables them to continue their reign of terror on society.
I keep asking: “How many more children have to die before America wakes up to what is going on and demands change?” Why aren’t our lawmakers listening? The answer is what it has always been - money. The more individuals the state manages to add to the sex offender registry, the more federal funding the states receive - a price “per head” so to speak. The cost to taxpayers financially, socially, and morally is devastating to say the least. Instead of putting those with a high propensity for re-offending like Adhahn, under 24 hour intensive surveillance with the help they need or better yet, civilly committing them forever if necessary, law enforcement must busy themselves verifying addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, chat handles, etc., and doing paperwork on the 600,000 plus registered sex offenders, many just like Genarlow Wilson, kids caught playing doctor and the Romeo and Juliet’s' of the world - which is nothing short of insanity.
The answer to saving lives of innocent children seems so simple. Indeed it is. If lawmakers really did care about our children, mine and yours, they would choose to listen to the experts instead of the lobbyists and corporations that grease their palms and offer up shares of stock in exchange for passing laws based on fear instead of fact.
Lawmakers have just as much blood on their hands as the killers themselves. BOTH are monsters and are equally as evil. Both are driven by selfishness and power and both use our children as prey. The only difference is that one gains sexually and the other financially, always at the expense of an innocent child..
If you have any doubt that what I am saying is true, then I implore you to sit back and watch. Look just a little deeper. Watch how the media and lawmakers “spin” this horrible tragedy and ask your-self this question:
“When is the last time that our government actually did anything which was solely and completely in our best interest?” Can you honestly think of even one time?
Watch for more ineffective laws to be passed in the name of victims like Zina. Watch how they are applied retroactively to everyone on the sex offender registry who had nothing to do with the horrific headline grabbing tragedies and see who stands to gain from them. It won’t be Zina or her family, or other families who share their horrendous plight. It is the legislators, the ratings hungry media, corporations, the booming prison industry, GPS companies, security companies and so on, and at the end of the day not a single child is saved.
Truths are easy to see once you know where to look and one needn’t look very deep. The only question for us now is: Will we as a society finally call these lawmakers on the carpet for their disingenuous attempts at protecting our children and demand they do something that works, or will we wait for the next Zina Linnik tragedy?