Child Molesters Freed In California
US Supreme Court Throws Out Hundreds Of Cases Over Old Law

By Kim Curtis

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A Baptist minister who was accused of molesting a teenage boy is returning to work at Fresno's juvenile hall. Child sexual-abuse charges against a former judge have been dropped. Two babysitters who pleaded guilty to performing sex acts on children have been let out of jail.
Charges are being dropped and convictions are being thrown out against hundreds of Californians after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1994 state law that erased the statute of limitations in decades-old molestation cases.
The high court's decision has angered victims and prosecutors, and alarmed some communities. Unlike molesters who have faced justice and served their time, those now being released do not have to register under Megan's Law as sex offenders.
"The pedophiles are laughing. They just got a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card and it disgusts me," said Bill Pelzl of San Francisco, whose alleged molester, a former priest, was freed.
California's law was designed to ensnare molesters who committed their cimes decades ago. Some states have extended their deadlines for filing charges in sex crimes, but California was the only state to retroactively eliminate the statute of limitations, allowing victims to come forward years, even decades, after the alleged abuse. The old statute of limitations was six years.
But the Supreme Court said the constitution bars states from revising already expired legal deadlines.
Now, California prosecutors are scrambling to figure out who needs to be freed and who can be tried for other crimes. An estimated 800 people - including priests, housewives and the winningest high school basketball coach in state history - were charged under the 1994 law. It is not yet clear how many were convicted or pleaded guilty, and how many are still behind bars.
Lake County prosecutor Susan Krones said she had no choice but to dismiss her case against Ronald Bunn, accused of raping a girl during the early 1980s when she was 14 and 15.
"It is a grave injustice to the victims in this case," Krones said.
Charges have been dropped against former Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline, accused of molesting a boy in 1979. Kline remains under house arrest on unrelated charges of keeping child pornography on his court computer.
Rev. Calvin Eugene Moore had been a juvenile hall guard and a pastor at King Solomon Baptist Church in Fresno before his arrest last October for alleged abuse of a teenage boy 20 years ago. With the charges now dismissed, he is expected to return to work as a juvenile corrections offices.
"The court dismissed the case, so there's no legal reason why he can't come back to work," county probation chief Larry Price said. "Calvin has a flawless personnel record and I think he has good support among his peers, so I see no reason why he wouldn't."
In Santa Clara County, Boyd Estelle Humphrey and Mary Jane Humphrey were facing life in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a child two decades ago. Authorities said the couple swapped spouses at night and their sex acts began to include the children they babysat. After being held in jail since October, they were released.
Not every alleged molester prosecuted under the 1994 law is going free.
Donald Kimball, a former Sonoma County priest, remains at San Quentin State Prison because he was convicted of assulting a newspaper photographer during his sex abuse trial in 2002. He has asked a judge to dismiss his conviction for fondling a 13-year-old girl in 1981.
David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the court ruling will hurt children the most.
"The Supreme Court is asking kids to do the impossible," he said. "Kids can't quickly come forward against adults who molest them. No one can take action against a careless or malicious surgeon when the patient is still in the recovery room because at that point you don't even know you've been hurt."
Many alleged victims are incensed that those getting released will have unblemished records and will not be required to register with the state or notify police when they move to town.
"I can absolutely see someone so frustrated by this that they take the law into their own hands," said Lee Bashforth of Lake Forest, after the priest he accused of molesting him and his brother from 1976 to 1985 was freed from jail just days after being arrested.
Bashforth said his alleged abuser has moved into an Orange County retirement community near where Bashforth lives with his pregnant wife.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
From Kathy Holleran
I am amazed at how so many stories strike close to home.
Tonight, you have the "Child Molesters Freed in California" story posted. Appalling cannot describe the reality if this decision.. It shows where the true evil is in the world. Life experience has brought me to where I am now and I do not forget the past.
I may have e-mailed before that Don Kimball WAS our parish priest. If he had touched my kids, he'd never have had a chance to go to trial. The girl, now woman he impregnated was the sister of my late co-worker Dan H..
Dan found out his sister was Kimball's victim (1 of many) on the news. Dan took his own life last year and I feel strongly that this news contributed to his decision.
I luckily stopped practicing in the early 80's, but oh the guilt I carried for years......NO MORE
I have not forgotten the Presidio Daycare case. Babies with venereal disease. No trial, victims too young to testify. The predator/operator of the center (on the base at the time) continued in the FIELD, having relatives front for him (I recall this from the news) in other localities. We used the daycare center twice while at Letterman for appointments. You bet I paid close attention to that story. The public soon forgets and now there is the desensitization factor as we are inundated with this subject.
I remember Kevin Collins*, Amber Swartz, Michella Garrett, Illene Michelloff and the other children who disappeared without a trace in the Bay area in the late 70's - early 80's.
I WILL not forget.
It sadly begins to make real the evil present in our society. It is my opinion that"The Supreme Court"of the United States is just another vehicle for the predators.
I am also of the opinion that THEY are becoming very careless and many of us are just not that distracted and /or stupid.
Sincere thanks as always,
Santa Rosa
*Kevin Collins disappeared near or in front of his school, St. Agnes. The location is on Masonic Ave. near Haight St.. My high school is at Turk and Masonic and I know the area well. This coincidence just recently hit me. Perhaps this is to be expected from one who reads David Icke and Jim Marrs and listens to Jeff Rense!




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