Part V: Long road for survivors

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Aug 13, 2021
Key Points
  • 600 sex predators off ankle monitors across Georgia by year’s end.
  • No legal fix from state lawmakers nearly two years later.
  • Police rely on registrations and house checks for predators.

Many district attorneys and police officials say they have not filed allegations of predators reoffending since losing their ankle monitors. It’s also rare for victims to be attacked again by their abusers once they have gone to prison, according to several local advocates who work with sex-crime survivors, including children.

But the increasing removal of ankle monitors in Georgia has shaken advocates and survivors facing an uphill battle in court to secure plea deals or guilty verdicts against predators. To them, dropping the ankle monitors feels something like a slap in the face.

“In my opinion, I would think it would kind of be like having no accountability,” said Susan Schuenemann, director of the Piedmont Rape Crisis Center and the victim of a sex crime in 1985. “I have zero tolerance for people who commit this sort of crime.”

Georgia’s district attorneys can seek long prison or probation sentences for the state’s riskiest predators, keeping them under supervision for most of their lives. But many top prosecutors agree sex cases are complicated due to he-said-she-said scenarios, lack of DNA evidence, few witnesses and shame for the victims. Like the sheriffs, many district attorneys would like ankle monitors brought back into the fold as a tool for law enforcement to track predators, mainly due to the challenges of proving sex-crime allegations in the first place.

“I feel like any technological means we can use, we need to use it,” said Columbus-Muscogee District Attorney Mark Jones. “I don’t have a lot of pity for these offenders.”

That’s the opinion of Kimberly Corban. In 2006, a stranger broke through a window in Corban’s apartment while she was a college student and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested three weeks later while trespassing in a nearby apartment gym, taking pictures of sunbathing women, Corban said.

Recently, Corban fought against moves in Colorado’s state legislature to alter treatment requirements for sex offenders before their prison release. Amid changes for ankle monitors, Corban hopes officials in her state and Georgia will focus more going forward on protecting survivors and the public from dangerous predators.

“What we’re seeing in Georgia, in Colorado and across the country is nitpicking these small things,” Corban said. “They’re trying to grab the public’s emotions or fly so far under the radar that the public doesn’t even know what’s happening.”

“What we’re seeing are offenders and their apologists fighting for things as if the survivors didn’t even exist.”

What else would you like to know about sex-related crimes and the judicial system in Georgia? Share your thoughts/tips by emailing [email protected].


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