In December, 2009, I published an article about Maurice Clemmons , titled “Did the Incest Loophole Cost the Lives of Four Police Officers in Washington?”. This article put the spotlight on our nation’s weakest laws, commonly known as “The Incest Loophole”. When violent sex offenders, such as Maurice Clemmons are allowed to go free with merely a slap on the wrist, they often repeat their vile acts and progress to even more violent crimes. In follow-up to that article, recent news from the state of Texas once again causes us to focus our attention on the weak laws regarding sex offenders.
Rookie Police Officer is Killed in the Line of Duty
A rookie police officer, Jillian Michelle Smith, age 24, was shot and killed during a routine follow-up on a domestic assault 911 call . Also killed was Kimberly Carter, the girlfriend of the shooter, and mother of an eleven-year-old girl. That shooter was Barnes Samuel Nettles, formerly of Washington state, who had been released from prison just months earlier.
Weak Laws in Washington State Allows a Rapist to go Free
Barnes Samuel Nettles, had been released from a Washington State Prison and then moved to Arlington, TX. Nettles had been in Arlington only six months, but during that time he reportedly had assaulted his girlfriend, Kimberly Carter as well as her mother and her sister. Yet another assault against his girlfriend occurred, prompting the 911 call on this night. After killing the police officer and his girlfriend, Kimberly Carter, Nettles then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. During the upheaval in the home, the eleven-year-old girl escaped and was unharmed.
Once again, we are forced to look at the weak laws in place in Washington state. Nettles had previously been arrested in Washington on charges of raping a 14 year old girl. He had reportedly also raped a 12 year old girl, but those charges were dropped. Had Samuel Nettles remained in prison on those rape charges, a rookie police officer, Jillian Smith and a young mother, Kimberly Carter, would still be alive.
The Incest Loophole is a Weak Spot in our Nation’s Laws
The laws in Washington seem to be very soft when it comes to prosecuting sexual crimes committed against children, especially children that are known by or related to the perpetrator. This “incest loophole” allows many sexual offenders to go free to commit more crimes against innocent children. Sometimes, as in the cases of both Samuel Nettles and Maurice Clemmons, the crimes escalate to murder.
Antiquated Laws Need to be Changed
The incest loophole was very common in our country in years past. Many states have made the necessary changes to these laws and have enforced stricter sentences against those who commit rape against children, whether they are strangers or family members. We still have a long way to go before our entire country makes the needed changes. The lives of innocent children, police officers and all of us hang in the balance as we wait for those changes.