A GPS Monitor Was No Protection for 13-year-old Licy Nipp

12 03 2009

She was beaten and stabbed to death by a homeless sex offender after she laughed at his failed attempt to rape her. He was a Level 3 sex offender – the category considered most likely to reoffend – and he was wearing a GPS monitor.

Alycia "Licy" Nipp

Alycia "Licy" Nipp

That device did not protect free-spirited 13-year-old Alycia “Licy” Nipp. Her body was found on February 22 in a field she was warned not to walk through in Vancouver, Oregon – 15 miles from Portland.

30-year-old Darrin Sanford may face the death penalty for what he did to Licy. He was convicted in 1998 after he offered to pay a group of 8 to 11 year-old children for oral sex and was given probation. He wore a passive GPS monitor (one that collects data on where he’s been and transmits it later) for the seven weeks since he was last let out of prison in January for one of his three parole violations.

All but six states make some use of GPS monitors for sex offenders. Although knowing where they are is good because it can help prevent convicted sex offenders from being near schools, experts say that the monitors provide a false sense of protection from the perpetrators.

The face of a child molester has changed from when my children were small. They were taught about “stranger danger.” Human Rights Watch reports that “In fact, the evidence shows that family members, friends or acquaintances are responsible for more than 90% of sexual abuse cases involving children.” HRW also says that first-time offenders are responsible for 87% of the cases of sexual abuse against children.

But these statistics did not protect Licy Nipp. Licy’s death is particularly difficult for her family, which has a history of experiencing sexual violence. Licy’s aunt Amber Hager had been raped twice as a teen and Licy’s grandmother had been raped as a child. They vowed to Licy that the cycle stopped with them and had coached Licy on how to be safe.

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers says that sexual offending can not be cured and that treatment has produced limited results in some people.

This is what makes dealing with sex offenders so difficult. What do you do with people who have urges to sexually assault children, have served their time in prison or on probation, and are rated likely to reoffend, as Darrin Sanford was?

Can we with a good conscience let such people…especially considering that Darrin had violated his parole three times…roam the streets with only a GPS monitor that doesn’t even report his location in real time? Is this the best we can do to protect our children?

UPDATE 6/10/09: Darrin Eugene Sanford pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree aggravated murder. He is expected to receive a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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5 responses

13 03 2009
sidhe

Tough issue. Our tough on crime stance has led to some pretty good ideas like GPS but GPS has become standard which is not only a false sense of security as noted in your post but also a waste of taxpayer dollars because virtually every sex offender, from the child molester to the statutory rapist, is saddled with GPS upon their release. Unfortunately, the programs that states have to determine recidivism are ill-equipped to measure the potential of sex-offenders to reoffend and furthermore there is a lack of knowledge and distinction between the types of sex offendors in the US.

Offenders like Darrin Sanford cannot be cured and he should have been sentenced to prison, not probation, after soliciting children for oral sex. Unfortunately, those like Darrin Sanford are lumped in with the young boys/men who are prosecuted for having consensual sex with their high school girlfriends and even the case that I personally observed where a young man, who was mild mentally retarded spend three years in prison for having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend whom he met at the sheltered workshop where they both were employed. We need to enable our judges to sentence criminals based on their individual traits and crimes, mandatory sentencing laws are the very laws that allowed Darrin Sanford to be free to kill on GPS and introduced a young mentally retarded man to three years of reception of sexual assault and torture.

Back to Darrin Sanford; he was wearing the GPS AFTER his THIRD parole violation. WTF?

15 03 2009
TrueBlueTexan

This is crazy. People like this need to be in prison. And I agree with Sidhe that statutory rape rarely falls into the same category as someone like Sanford. The law is less than satisfactory in how it deals with this problem on all fronts.

15 03 2009
skyewriter

Apologies for posting to this very important thread, but I wanted to let you know I am passing along two blog awards I received recently to you.

I cannot paste the code for the badges (as I am not a wordpress blogger) but should you choose to accept them, the instructions are on my blog.

I will understand if you don’t post this comment.

Hope you are well, Diane.

15 03 2009
William

This is such a difficult issue. Because on one side of the coin, we know they can’t be allowed any kind of exposure to potential victims. They’re real threat that needs to be taken far more seriously than passive gps devices. But, on the other side of the same coin, statistics also show that most sex offenders are the victims of some kind of abuse themselves. So most of them are deeply warped, which is not an excuse for their actions in any way, but certainly a complication.

Licy’s story is an unbelievably sad one. I hope that the judicial system finds a more adequate way to deal with people with these issues.

29 06 2009
anonymous

LICI:), was my cousin.
i miss her terribly she was one year older than me and i visit her everyday almost.
this is a farliy good article and i want you to know.
that to anyone whos read this and who knew her.
seh helped us all through it esspicially miranda.
and its okay to be sad once and a while.
but would she want us to be sad all the time?
rest in peace lici.

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