Seizing on the case of a 12-year-old girl who may have been killed by a sex offender, Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie called on lawmakers to convene in a special session next month to crack down on sex offenders. The Boston Globe said he proposed a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term and other measures. The proposal got a cool reception, with lawmakers saying the issue is too complicated for quick action and a victims’ rights group saying long mandatory minimums can discourage suspects from entering into plea bargains and scare victims out of coming forward.
“Long mandatory sentences make us feel really good, but they really do very little to keep people safe from sex offenders,” said Karen Tronsgard-Scott of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Brooke Bennett, was found dead July 2, a week after she disappeared. Her uncle, convicted sex offender Michael Jacques, 42, is charged with kidnapping her. Governor Jim Douglas said he wouldn’t call a special session until there is agreement among lawmakers about the bills to be voted on.