Some disclosures right up front:
- WC doesn’t like Senator Pete Kelly. That’s not completely accurate. WC
strongly dislikesloathes Senator Pete Kelly.
- Devin McKee Kelly, Senator Kelly’s oldest child, is 30 years old, an adult. Senator Kelly is not legally liable for Devin Kelly’s actions.
- Devin McKee Kelly is innocent until proven guilty.
Still. The charges against Devin Kelly are so serious that they require public discussion. The actions of children, good and bad, including adult children, do reflect on their parents.
Devin McKee Kelly is charged with sexual assault on a child under the age of thirteen. It’s an unclassified felony, the most serious category of crime under the Alaska Criminal Code. The allegations are that the conduct extended over at least 11 months. The changes aren’t new; they were filed in April 2014. Trial has been continued a couple of times, and is now set for December 2015. There hasn’t been a lot of discussion about the case, but it’s there, on the record, and when issues involving sexual assault on minors, like Erin’s Law come before the state senate, where Devin’s father is a very powerful person, well, it should be discussed.
Erin’s law has been adopted in 23 states; it’s not all that controversial nationally. “Erin’s Law” requires that all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program which teaches:
- Students in grades preK – 12th grade, age-appropriate techniques to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult
- School personnel all about child sexual abuse
- Parents & guardians the warning signs of child sexual abuse, plus needed assistance, referral or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families
The majority caucus in the Alaska Legislature has resisted adoption of Erin’s Law. Most recently, Senator Mike Dunleavy (R, Child Abuse) in committee gutted the bill by requiring parents to opt in to their children attending the classes, rather than opting out, and changing the mandatory requirement of training in detecting sexual predation to permissive.
Can we think about this for a moment, folks? In a state where 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused, do you think abusive parents are going to opt in? Do you think parents who don’t even know that sexual abuse is committed against pre-schoolers are going to do even minimal training of their kids themselves? We have this problem in our culture because, to a horrifying extent, parents are not doing their jobs. Do you think deferring to parents in that situation is going to be useful? Do you think there is any conceivable way it is going to reduce the rate of child sexual abuse?
And why, in the name of anything holy, is Senator Pete Kelly, father of an accused sexual predator, being given a voice in these proceedings? If Senator Kelly is to be given any voice, if he had any moral courage, he might say, “This law needs to be passed. Believe me, it can happen in any family.”
But expecting moral courage of Pete Kelly is expecting a dog not to lick his whapper. A dog does because he can; Senator Kelly opposes Erin’s Law because in his twisted, sick and failed values, he can.