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April 29th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

The Tragedy of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois

A couple of weeks ago, blog1when John Albert Gardner III, a 31-year-old registered sex offender, was sent to prison for life after pleading guilty to murdering two teenage girls in San Diego County, I felt some sense of relief that we had gotten another monster off the streets.

But in all candor, I still felt a raw, unbridled anger that such gruesome murders had happened in the first place.

Before Gardner murdered 17-year-old honor student Chelsea King, who went out for a run and was found in a shallow grave, and before he murdered 14-year-old Amber Dubois, who was last seen in front of her school in Escondido, carrying a check to buy a lamb for her Future Farmers of America project, he previously had served five years in prison for beating and molesting a 13-year-old girl. A psychologist who evaluated him said he was a continuing threat.

And, as all tragically now know, when he was released from prison, he went right back to what he had been doing — sexually assaulting young girls. Yes, he was required by law to register as a sex offender, listing his address once a year, which could be accessed by the public. He also was banned from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children played. Even with those restrictions, however, he was still able to slip under the radar and attack other girls.

I admit, when I hear about child sex predators, I have both a personal and professional reaction and both of them are negative. I question whether we have found the right approach to treating or monitoring these people. In fact, I am pretty sure we have not!

What should we as a society do about people like John Gardner? Should we show compassion? Should we change the law to make it easier for juries to sentence these people to life in prison after their very first convictions for a sex offense — especially if it’s with a minor? Should we consider, as many experts have suggested, mandatory chemical or actual castration of convicted sex offenders? Should we at least require sex offenders to wear ankle monitors for the rest of their lives? And despite the cost, should there be more police officers assigned just to monitor registered sex offenders?

I applaud Chelsea’s parents, Brent and Kelly, who say they are channeling their rage and grief to prevent other children from falling victim to predators. The Kings are now partnering with San Diego assemblyman Nathan Fletcher to pass Chelsea’s Law, which would identify gaps in the system and tighten sex offender laws in California. During an interview with Larry King, Kelly asked, “How many times do our daughters need to be raped before we put these monsters behind bars forever?”

As senseless as Chelsea’s and Amber’s murders are, please don’t think such tragedies only happen to other people. Every situation is different, and no one knows if any kind of training or awareness might have helped Chelsea or Amber. But either way, parents, you need to teach your kids to self-protect. Talk to them early and often about stranger danger, but do so in a way that doesn’t scare them. Although it’s important for them to respect authority figures, let them know that it’s OK to yell or make a scene if they have a bad feeling about an adult. Make sure to rehearse your child’s response to danger, and role-play with them on how they should respond in a dangerous situation.

Never forget, sex offenders are really good at what they do, and they will take any step to get access to potential victims. We cannot give them an inch.

My prayers go out to the families of Chelsea and Amber.

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38 Responses to “The Tragedy of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois”

  1. FosterBoys says:

    We have to release the predators from prison to make room for the non-violent drug offenders, right? Right?

    Where’s your outrage over that little logistical reality?

  2. Scott Lay says:

    THERE ARE CERTAIN PEOPLE IN THIS REALM that must be removed from the breathing. This creature needs to be put down. It really crushes me to think that We are more concerned about the rights of a killer than the protection of our brightest stars. God Will Bless you Chelsea and Amber. I say a prayer for all of your loved ones also.
    My call is for all Men and Women to wake up and keep our stars safe!

  3. First, so glad you are staying on top of all these important issues Dr. Phil…

    I don’t guess Alcatraz or Guantanamo Bay detention camp Island are realistic yet that’s what I’ve thought. Castration seems reasonable. Leg monitor w/special unit to monitor seems reasonable especially since likelihood of repeat offenders VERY high.


    Emotional and Life Skill Education DAILY class K-12 or (even in college too) of age appropriate topics such as reading y’all’s McGraw books, Dr. Lawlis’s, GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker etc.

    People have gotten out of touch with listening to intuition and often predators zero in on polite persons. In fact, a police report once when I was being stalked was that I was “too diplomatic.” However, times have changed and taken seriously that time and stalker called (by police) and told to leave me alone.

    Is it too good to be true with an invisible unspecified price tag? Manger that attempted to molest my brother & I, when I was 4 & brother 5, except we escaped (volunteered to babysit for my mother when she was at work FREE). At 5 I fell for 3 teens offering me candy… “stranger danger” isn’t always adults. As well, we never outgrow stranger danger.

    We can’t be totally paranoid yet we can use common sense intuition and claim our right to NO THANK YOU like GAvin de Becker suggests in GIFT OF FEAR. The plus is I lived through it and have vivid recall to share now which I hope could have a positive impact. To me, sometimes, PTSD flash backs are so we see at what point could we possibly have avoided for PREVENTION “IS” THE BEST INTERVENTION to avoid in future for, although not all, many things can be avoided.

    The steps Chelsea King’s parents are taking is bringing AWARENESS to PREVENTION “IS” THE BEST INTERVENTION with better laws since the laws on the books aren’t working and haven’t worked for a long time so are in want of being tweaked so do work. THANK GOD Chelsea’s parents are working to “identify gaps in system and tighten sex offender laws in California” in memory of their daughter as more than too sad what happened to Chelsea and Amber Dubois and… warrants a tight reign be held at all times. For simple fact, once again, is that most sex offenders are repeat offenders and statistics show likely will not stop.

    I’ve had some close calls and been exploited since ignored red flags all for the sake of being polite, being in an isolated area. Again, too, we need help numbers posted in bathrooms and handed out to students on billfold size cards of typical crisis scenarios w/help numbers. Such as but not limited to a help number for “What to do if an adult behaves inappropriate with you” etc. etc. etc. Predators main MO is they look for opportunity and, quite often, zero in on polite persons… I think I read in GIFT OF FEAR.

  4. I applaud you bringing this century old problem to the forefront. In certain states incest is not considered a crime. Washington is one of those states. We, as the public need to use rationale and common sense to combat this every growing problem. If men know that they are being watched and held accountable for their behavior maybe we can recognize the problem before it gets out of hand. I worked for four years with sexually violent predators, whose crimes were committed over twenty years ago, and feel that good mental health treatment will help get to the root of the problem. I know it’s hard to believe that anything can be done, but we can’t execute all of them. We need to focus on why these things continue to happen to our women and children. I have witnessed staff members torturing and abusing people who really want some help. Until we realize that there is a mental abnormality this problem will continue to grow. Thank you

  5. vince says:

    i could respond to this artical, but my responce will change nothing, i can vote during election time and change a world, i think ill chouse to vote maybe we all will get lucky and get some people in office THAT CAN AND WILL MAKE A REAL DIFFERANCE.

  6. Linda Perlis says:

    We need to understand what ‘makes’ a sexual predator and focus more on correcting the familial and societal flaws that are all too commonly seen in this population. Whether than means more Children’s Aid workers, better foster homes, more foster home screening, more welfare and certainly more health and drug care benefits, these are dollars better spent than on lifetime incarceration. Prison is far along the spectrum of prevention. For every sex offender locked up, there are many more ‘hatching’ or just offending without being apprehended. Killing, castrating or locking up sex offenders for life is a ‘make work’ project designed to create the illusion of safety – not the reality. You can lock up the one you know about, but what about the one next door who has yet to offend for the first time – and let’s remember that the majority of sex offenders and rapists are men know to or related to the victim. If everyone who had a gun traded it in for programs that identified and supported families at risk for creating a sex offender, fewer would exist. I am pretty sure that more people die in the USA from gun violence and automobile accidents every year than from sexual predators. Focus on what really takes lives.

  7. Carol says:

    There aren’t words to say what happened to these beautiful girls there just not and as far as I am concerned he got away with a big one and there is nothing they can do to this animals except do the same exact thing to him that he did to these beautiful girls.

    He refused to say if there are more out there that he killed and actually smiled when he was asked so you know there is and to me he is a rabbit animal and what do we do to rabbit animals kill them and that is exactly what we need to do to hm.

    This is why I am saying that the law RAPE has to change to MANSLAUGHTER because I am sure he did that way before he graduated to killing these innocent girls.

    Rape is form of MANSLAUGHTER because once you are raped the person you were to become is gone no matter how hard you try you have changed. I don’t want to hear you don’t because I am living this change everyday of my life.

    I was raped starting the age of twelve (12) through the age of twenty-one (21) and I went from this loving child to a person to that person I didn’t even know myself always afraid always afraid that if I told what he was doing to me that he would kill my family and let me watch just as he told me he would do.

    When I finally got the help I needed many many years later I had lost so much I can’t even think. My sleeping habits were horrible would wake up seven (7) to ten (10) times a night screaming to the top of lungs walking through the house. Lost many many jobs because of my temper always afraid of people approaching me and I would talk and kill my family. I lost my first husband and many many parts of my family it took me years to be able not to be afraid and even to this day and I am in my 60’s I still have flashbacks when I am very tired so it really never goes away when this happens to anyone it just stays with you.

    There would be a lot less killings such as these if the crime of RAPE would change to MANSLAUGHTER these animals would remain in jail a lot longer and the public would be safer.

    I need everyone help to have this happen.

    Thank you,


  8. Natasha says:

    Dr. Phil, I have a very strong reaction to this as well, and I would like to be a Forensic Psychologist who identifies the criminally insane, with a special focus on sexual predators.

    To answer all of your suggestions of we should do, the answer is yes.
    Physical castration should be mandatory, for several reasons.

    One: These people have no right to experience sexual pleasure again. Hell, thousands if not millions of African and Middle Eastern women are involuntarily castrated (”female genital circumcision” aka mutilation) as young children who are completely innocent. So I think these men do not deserve to have the pride and joy it is to be men anymore, EVER.

    SECONDLY, most if not all girls and young women who live through their experiences of rape and sexual violence have problems themselves with sex in the future. If the victims have to suffer after the incident, THE PERPETRATOR SURE SHOULD!

    This may surpass our law system, but I sincerely think the best kind of therapy for these victims is to personally inflict pain back onto the perpetrators.

    Anti-androgens and other such female hormones should be forcibly administered in large quantities as well to the offenders. This will in turn lower their sex drives and give them female characteristics (such as breasts and muscle atrophy).
    The point is to humiliate them and take away the pride of these psychopaths.

    After such measures are taken, they should be watched and have their ankles chained for the rest of their lives. They no longer are worthy of human rights; they are nothing but garbage and their only worth thereafter will be whatever they can contribute to society.

  9. GL says:

    This is a sad subject, and it caught my attention and urged me to reply, although I only read this quite late.

    I’m not a psychiatrist, and I only know about psychology in a basic, relatively intelligent interested kind of way. But I ask myself a question that many will find controversial: what is the difference between paedophiles and homosexuals, in a chemical kind of way?
    Now before everybody’s going to be mad at me: I do oppose paedophiles, and I don’t have anything against homosexuals. Calm down and read on…

    The reason I’m saying this is that we are supposed to be made, genetically, to be attracted to the opposing sex of approximately the same age. If not, humanity would’ve been extinct ages ago. It’s a defect, somewhere, to be attracted to your own sex. It’s a harmless defect, and (as I’m Dutch), I’m completely fine with this. We all have some form of defect.
    But the same holds for paedophiles: they’re simply attracted to something they shouldn’t be. As I said, I’m not a psychiatrist, so anybody please tell me if I’m wrong here, but the form of defect between paedophiles and homosexuals doesn’t seem to be that far apart – at all.
    Of course, having sex with children is just plain wrong. It’s not something kids have the capacity to decide on, while adults can properly use their brains to know it’s wrong.
    That’s also why I sincerely pity paedophiles. They have urges they can’t live legally. It’s got to be horrible, an extreme form of “blue balls” (if I may use this harsh wording) that can never be legally be healed.
    Some paedophiles won’t live up to their urges, of course, knowing it’s wrong, but I still pity them for having to restrain themselves from ever really getting what they want. Nature’s bad joke that a person will have to live with for his entire life.

    But it also begs the question whether it’s possible to change paedophiles at all. We pretty much know we can’t change homosexuals (and these days, few actually want to). What would make it possible to change paedophiles? Maybe, in the distant future, we can enter the brain directly and fix the broken wiring. Maybe it’s way too deep to ever fix.

    Prison seems useless. The urges will never stop without castration. In fact, I believe the prison time should be decreased, as I can only imagine how difficult it would be to refrain from living out the urges (some people still do that, I think, and I have a fair amount of respect for them). However, castration should be forced upon them to stop their urges, to patch the flaws of nature, to harm as few as possible.

  10. jane says:

    I think the idea of rape being considered manslaughter is a very valid one. Except, if it is premeditated, then maybe it should be considered homicide? Perhaps. I wish castration would be a dead lock – it doesn’t always diminish sexual drive when performed later in life. Everyone has a part to play in this – men who father children need to stay with their family and see their children through life in a loving manner. Men need to start raising their boys to be real men. Women need to require more of the men they love. Girls need to get smart and learn self defense, and much more importantly, avoidance. And someone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol OR DRUGS should have their car taken away before their spot in jail is given to one of these “men.”

  11. Jo says:

    I have read all the posts on what should happen to child molesters and i cant help but cry. I was molested for several years when i was very young (between 10 and 12 years old) by my brother who was five years older than me. Its not a topic i like to discuss with anyone and probably never will. My biggest hurdle that i struggle with in my adult life is lack of trust and hate towards myself. I have always embedded into my children that no one has the right to hurt anyone else in this world. You keep your hands to yourself and help those in need.
    My thoughts on child molesters was that i would seriously kill any person that would touch my children.
    One night in 2008 i came home from work to find a search warrant on my bench explaining that my own son (18yrs old) had been taken into custody for sexually assaulting two children. My life stopped and has never been the same since. I have been ridiculed, threatened with my life, had property damage and now live in a world of fear and shame. I do not go out of my house and don’t see anyone. I am pulled towards my beliefs about child molesters and between my love as a mother towards my son. My son has asked for help and counseling regarding what he did. He has tried to kill himself on several occasions in prison because he says he is a dog for what he did and does not deserve to be forgiven. He does not know why he stooped so low as to do what he did, he had never had thoughts of doing anything like that before and has not since. He has accepted that his life now has also changed forever as has the children he did this to. As a mother I often wonder what i did in my life that made him go this way and wonder if i had of been a better mother and been more strict on him, this would not have happen. I also believe and know now that there are under lying physiological problems with people that do this as there are with my son, no one is born to do this. I think that the only way we can stop this type of behavior from happening is to bring into force mandatory physiological therapy in prisons. If you get to the root of the cause then things may change.

  12. Marie says:

    My mother-in-law was indicted on 20 counts of sexual abuse against my son. She is still allowed around kids because of the fact that she has not been convected yet. This month makes 2 years she’s been out on bail. Next month will make a year that she was indicted. We were supposed to go to trial 4 times now. Next month the new term starts, we are supposed to go to trial then, WE HOPE. She has indeed been around children at least twice that I know of. I don’t believe my son is her first victim. He was 8 years old when it started and it went on up until 4 years ago. He never told anyone because of the fact she threatened my husband and myself. He finally did tell a counsler and that’s how this all came out. Now we wait to see if we go to trial

  13. silentone59 says:

    I have written and called every place I can think of to report my husband, the sex offender, who gets away with all kinds of outrageous behavior while being on parole, including drinking every day, driving drunk, hookers, trolling the Internet on date sites, and God knows what other sites, etc. I have seen his profile on several valid dating sites and emailed them to inform them of his being on Megan’s Law. My question is this, why don’t they do anything about this? Why can’t they make a quick search of every person who signs up on these sites to see whether or not they are sex offenders? If I had known that, I would never have met him. He did not get placed on Megan’s Law until AFTER we were married, and my life was a living hell. I am getting ready to go on You Tube to warn women about him.

  14. Michelle says:

    It seems like many people are missing the point. Rapists rape because of the power, not the sexual release. Of course, to achieve that release, they HAVE TO control their victim. Castration won’t sure that, chemical or otherwise. Life in prison seems too luxurious. I was raped, and I have to say, having my innocence stripped away like that changed me in ways I never thought would be possible. It isn’t justice, to have them spend their lives in prison, watching cable TV, having three square meals a day, a bed or cot to sleep on and no repercussions. The atrocities that they perpetrate on people, not just girls, are so heinous that instead of locking them away, it should be an automatic death sentence. And it should also be an expedited death sentence, none of this sitting on death row for the next ten years. That’s the only way to solve it. Why should they even be allowed to breathe anymore?

  15. Nicola says:

    In the immortal words of Susan Shabangu, our deputy minister of Safety & Security, I say: “Shoot the bastards!” They don’t deserve to live and as experience shows us, they will only do it again. Even if only serial rapists, serial murderers and serial child abusers were killed, that would drastically reduce prison populations and totally remove the worst part of society. Some “experts” say the death penalty is not a deterent. But I counter, that that is a total load of rubbish. Ofcourse its a deterent!! The criminal executed and dead – so therefore he is not only detered, but completely unable to perpetrate his demonic evils on innocent ppl again.

    So much of our overly PC society today is hell-bent on explaining (justifying) why these sickos do what they do, and very little time feeling for the victim. Or focussing on JUSTICE for the victim. What is with that?

    In the days of Victor Hugo, you could be stuck in jail or chased by the coppers your entire life for stealing a loaf of bread. That was not right. However now,
    the pendulum has swung totally the other way – All rights for the perpetrators and no rights for the victims. This is a gross injustice. Totally wrong. How much longer will we as a society allow this growing tide of heathen savage criminals to ruin our lands, rape our children and force us to live constantly in fear of being brutally mudered in our own backyards?????

    It is not a free country. And neither is mine.

    I am very heartened to see so many ppl commenting on this thread, who share my views, that crime should be followed by PUNISHMENT instead of a fed, clothed holiday with TV, free weights, conjugal visits & gang warfare. And I thank Dr Phil for his no nonsense approach to all the topics he deals with. He is a man who stands for what is right. When so much of what we see on TV glorifies for what is wrong and base.

    I watch the show every day, here in South Africa.

  16. Dominick Marchello says:

    In the book, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the lottery “winners” are chosen by the luck of the draw. However, the ‘winner’ is ritually killed, but with a grander goal- he is killed so that the rest of the community can live. A very simple concept, and one I believe could be used in the worst sexual abuse/murder cases. Opponents of capital punishment cite the percentages of ‘innocents’ killed for crimes they did not commit. I won’t go into the difficulties in proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that a culprit is guilty. I won’t even go into the nebulous area of what I call “guilt by proxy”–the high percentage of people who commit other crimes but just have not gotten caught–so they may not be ‘guilty’ in the strictest sense of the word for one particular crime, but certainly ran in those circles and/or committed crimes they were careful enough (or lucky enough) to avoid detection. In this high tech era of CSI and DNA analysis, culprits that go to trial and get off are due more to technicalities rather than lack of culpability. So, I won’t defend against death-penalty opponents’ claims that a certain percentage of death penalty completed sentence recipients were ‘not guilty’ (I just cannot bring myself to say ‘innocent’) but rather, as a society, should we ask ourselves, “is it not better to save two CERTAINLY innocent children (and their families) at the expense of a statistically POSSIBLE innocent man ? Unfortunately, we live in a society that says ‘one wrongly accused man killed is too much’. Meanwhile, our children pay the price in decreased quality of life, society commits way too many resources that could be better utilized to alleviate suffering to the housing and caring for people that have done society a grave injustice and ultimately we have too many parents’ worse nightmares come true.

  17. Jennifer says:

    They need to say on an island!

    I was a victim 25 years ago. They never stop!

  18. Jennifer says:

    They need to stay on an island!

  19. Malcolm says:

    “”It is apparent”. When a psychologist, Not a psychiatrist, when a psychologist, says a criminal offender is a continuing threat, They Are To Be Believed literally”.

  20. Malcolm says:

    Michelle does seem to say it: “Why should they [criminals against society] be allowed to breath anymore.”

    It’s been said before, and to expand a little: Act against society, and we’ll send you to God; He can sort out what we can’t.

  21. Malcolm says:

    SilentOne,….God be with you; maybe he is helping you act,…but God be with you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    We are to live by the Spirit. Are you managing to? It appears so and you are in a difficult and interesting situation.
    of Adelaide
    South Australia

  22. Malcolm says:

    Thank God,..for Good Counsellors!

  23. Malcolm says:

    Power to Vince.above.

  24. Cin says:

    Personally, I think a lot of people are going with a gutcheck reaction and saying yes to castration. That only solves the sexual aspect, people who prey on children are not doing it for sexual stimulation. They are doing it for power, just like a rape of a woman is not about sex, it’s about power. Until you are able to alter the psychological makeup of predators it’s a fool’s dream to think we will ever get rid of even one of them. I’m the mother of three small boys and I can honestly say I would gleefully remove from this earth anyone who laid an inappropriate hand on them. Good lord willing I will never be in that position. All we can do to protect our children is to teach them that saying no is fine no matter who the adult is. Screaming no and yelling for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Yell loudly “This is not my parent, relative, brother/sister” Say it to anyone who is around while you are being dragged away. Child molesters need privacy for their acts, if we as a society start paying attention to the world around us we might just stop a child getting victimized. Get involved, it might be your own child you save from a nightmare that will never go away.

  25. Susan K says:

    I was a little unsettled by the dutch woman that said there isn’t much difference between pedaphiles and homosexuals. OMG…get educated. Pedophiles are predominately straight males that HURT children. Homosexuals are people that love and cherish someone of the same sex. It exists in the animal kingdom just as it does with people There is no hurting. There is loving.

    On that note. I think castration solves the problem of having the pedophile rape again. But it won’t stop them from fondling, or perhaps killing the children they are attracted to. I think a sexual predator should be taken out with a $1.25 bullet and shot. It’s quick, its’ cheap, and any trails should be limited to 2 years. It should never take 10-12 years to put someone to death. If it was put to vote, I believe the American Public would overwhelming vote for it.

  26. Bobbi says:

    As a mother of two and living in a neighborhood where there’s a predatory sex offender right by our mail boxes I am right there with you on your outrage! These people are disgusting and shouldn’t be allowed to live with or around children at all! We need to figure out a way to put these people where they will never be able to hurt another child ever again. The sex offender that lives near us has a 5/6 year old daughter that he’s LIVING WITH!!!! As well as his wife. Not to mention that the kids in our neighborhood have no choice, but to walk right past his house every single day to go to the bus stop/school. There’s a preschool across the street and three other schools within walking distance. Why on earth he is allowed to be around all these kids when he has a history of sexually abusing them is beyond me and it’s pisses me off! I have talked to my daughter as well as the neighbor kids about this and my daughter is scared. I don’t know how you talk to a child as young as four and tell them how to be safe and not talk to strangers without them getting scared. She will not play on her swingset outside unless there are other kids or an adult with her. I guess in our situation this may not be a bad thing. On the flip side, there have been false allegations made against a family member by their ex. This person has had to go as far as having live in “babysitters” during weekend visits just to protect themselves. My husband and I are those babysitters. What makes me so angry is that the ex’s are so hateful that they will do anything they can to hurt their ex. And if it wasn’t for a somewhat decent income this person wouldn’t be allowed to see their own child. After a very intensive lie detector test, this has still gone on. However, because of this person being able to afford a psychologist who specializes in sexual abuse victims we are now on our way to peace. Not only for us, but especially the child as well. The system is really screwed up!!

  27. Andrea says:

    I am writing this with my stomach in my throat, because the thought of our children being victims of these animals just makes me sick. I, myself, am a survivor of sexual abuse from the age of 3. I do understand the comment that pedophiles are much like homosexuals… as much as heterosexuals, I guess. What I mean is that they are just wired with THAT drive, and I do not believe that they have the ability to change it, anymore than a heterosexual could force themselves to truly be gay, or vice versa. I also am annoyed at the comment about gun control being more important than the safety of our children. NOTHING is more important than our children, and it’s time we started acting like it. Guns may actually kill people, but sexual abuse kills the souls of children and adults. I know for myself, there were moments when I wished death upon myself, to avoid the pain of living with the abuse. My children are grown now, but I have told them since they were old enough to understand to be extra cautious regarding sexual predators, and if something does not feel right, get out, because, god help me, if someone had ever hurt one of my babies, I would be sitting in prison for murder. My abuser died of old age, without so much as seeing the inside of a courtroom. I have NO faith in our justice system when it comes to keeping our kids safe. I feel like God gave me the responsibility to protect my children, and if I needed to, I would do it, without a second thought. THAT’S whats wrong with our justice system, the abuser goes free, but the parent would spend their life in prison. At the very least, these convicted sex offenders should have to wear ankle bracelets, and if they did not comply, for any reason, should be permanently incarcerated. But I will be honest, I feel that the most cost efficient, and just plain effective way to deal with these monsters is with a bullet. As someone else stated, serial predators have no place in our society. Once they have proven to be that, they should be exterminated. And to anyone that thinks that I am extreme, you obviously have not had to live my life, or look into the eyes of a child that has been a victim of sexual abuse. It sickens me that our world is so PC that these children have to pay the price for our grossly inadequate justice system.

  28. MyBigMouth says:

    It is sad but true that the sex offenders are not considered all that dangerous unless they commit crimes over and over. In the judicial system they only have to serve 1/3 or their sentence. They can also get out early for good behavior. These things need to be made common knowlege to the public. I don’t think the average American would stand for it if they knew and understood the basic judicial system. Ankle bracelets are all well and good as long as we have enough probation officers tracking them, even so, it wont stop them from commiting another crime. Sex offenders are untreatable. They need to be in therapy, half way houses, not in the general public. Folks this all costs money though, and until we are able to make sure they are not within the public they will continue to hurt the public, mainly our children. Sadly I know from my own experience, he was sentenced to 50 years, took a plea bargain and plead guilty so my daughter would not have to testify and face him in court, so he got 5 years concurrent, then he only had to serve 3 years, but could have served less if he didn’t have to take a manadatory 3 year sex offender counseling program run in this certain prison system. 3 years folks for 10 counts , with a maximum of 50 years. This is just not right. What else do we do, who pays for it?

  29. offer the court money then you will get justice each time you go into a court room its not about right or wrong its about$$$$$$$ sex offenders should be put away never to hurt another person again let it be a judges kid or wife and you will see justice what a croupt world we live in

  30. K. Leister, M.A. says:

    I have a book written by by Fred Storaska in 1975 entitled: “How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive”. I got it when I was 20, and I am now 50. I have read this book at least 10 times during that period. It outlines methods to deal with the threat of molestation and rape that goes against the conventional method of, ’scream, run’. It starts with the definition of rape and goes from there. There’s even a section for young people/children. You don’t have to have a high school diploma to read them. I have taken the ideas/techniques from Mr. Storaska’s book and burned them into my brain.

    I may not avoid rape or molestation in my lifetime, but it does give me valuable tools in case it does happen. I know Mr. Storaska has written material since then, and after reading this blog, I fully intend to obtain it and read that 10 times as well!! I love your show, and never miss it! K. Leister, M.A.
    (I have an M.A in cognitive psychology).

  31. Nick says:

    In the news today was another story about a sexual predator being arrested for sexually abusing his foster daughter for years. Every day, I read the paper or listen to the news and EVERY day there is a story of a sexual predator. It’s getting worse not better, and that is because sexual predators come from dysfunctional homes, and all forms of child abuse is passed from generation to generation if the cycle is not broken. I think we need to get out priorities straight: the protection of the public is more important than the “rights” of the criminal. In some ways the crime of sexual abuse is more serious than murder. The victim of murder goes to “a better place” but the victim of sexual abuse ALWAYS suffers immensely, OFTEN times is a drain on society because of medical, emotional, and psychological problems caused by the abuse, and ALL TOO OFTEN perpetuates abuse in one form or another. We need to decide that people so “sick” that they will do this to others needs to be put out of their misery. Let’s give them a quick trip to that “better place”…AND we need to emphasize the idea that children are a blessing to be protected, loved and nurtured. We need to send the message that if someone has a child that is now there #1 purpose in life. It is REQUIRED of them to do everything in their power to teach, love, and educate, and keep their children safe….Remove the threats as they surface, and create an environment that is conductive to the healthy growth of individuals anti-conductive to the formation of predators.


  32. Lorraine says:

    This story is horrible and hindsight is always 20/20. Just a few weeks ago Dr. Phil featured guests who had lost the better portion of their lives to a wrongful conviction. So here we are, stuck between the extremes in the failures of our judicial system. The solution isn’t to toss the law aside and put people in jail because the investigation looks damning and the solution isn’t to set all of the predators free. “You cannot solve the problem with the same thinking that caused it.” The solution is going to be a reconsideration of terms like “crime” and “dangerous”. There was enough information to understand that John Albert Gardner III was a danger to others. Unfortunately current laws indicate he must DO something before LE can respond.

    Maybe we need to consider that being a sexual predator is a mental illness – and we don’t wait for these sick people to commit a crime before we take them off the street. You don’t have to DO something to me a medical threshold for hospitalization. Just sayin’

  33. Rick says:

    There’s a good book called “Victims No Longer” written by Mike Lew for men who were molested as children. It’s a pretty intense eye opening and educational piece of work. It helped me realize I could never get my chilhood back, and will never know what an unabusive childhood would be like’ that is for me’personally.Yet I find it beneficial to read the comments of people who had a seemingly unperverted childhood, and who were later victims of a sexual crime express their outrage and views. It helps in the sense of finding pieces that never existed and adopting them into the “pick up the pieces and go on with your life” advice. What life?

  34. Jean Glisson says:

    There should never be a release date for a convicted child molester. Even if a child survives, they will never forget and can have lingering problems. So why release a child molester to strike again. Release drug addicts, they choose to harm themselves, but never a child molester. Create a law to pass to make it a life in prison offense.

  35. Chelsea King Slain, What Can We Learn?…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

  36. kris perk says:

    Oddly Enough
    Shred Your Sex Offender Map
    Lenore Skenazy, 06.25.10, 06:00 AM EDT

    If anything, the sex offender registry is making our kids LESS safe.

    Recently I consulted my local Serial Killer Registry and found out I’m living next door to a guy who killed three lunchroom ladies when they refused to give him seconds on the chili!

    Oh please. I’m kidding. There’s no registry of murderers out there. There’s no armed robber registry either. Not even one for drunk drivers. No, the only easily available registry for all Americans to consult is the Sex Offender Registry.
    Article Controls

    Because ex-sex offenders are so much scarier than murderers?

    No, the reason there’s now a sex offender registry in every state–most of these lists dating back only to the 1990s–is that sex offenders have become the focus of intense parental fear. Who could blame us moms and dads, when we hear about kiddie kidnappings 24/7 on the news? The problem is not with nervous parents. The problem is with the registries. Turns out, they’re worse than useless.

    They are making our kids LESS safe. How? Well, there are three big problems with the registry.

    1. The first is that we have not decided, as a country, which crimes we really want to see registered. And so, in five states, a man can end up on the registry for having sex with a prostitute. In 13 states, it is a registerable offense to urinate in public, and in 32 states, it’s just as bad to be caught streaking. Yes, streaking. That means that when we look at a little map of our neighborhood and it’s covered with red “Sex Offender” dots, there’s often no way of telling whether the guy down the block is a child rapist or a jerk wearing a headband (and nothing else), bent on re-living the Carter years.
    Rate This Story

    2.There are almost three quarters of a million people on the sex offender registries now. But according to a study done by the hardly soft-on-crime George Sex Offender Registration Review Board, only 5% of the 17,000 sex offenders in that state were “clearly dangerous” to children, and among them, only 100 could be classified as “predators.”

    So here’s an idea, says Adam Thierer, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a market-oriented think tank: Why not make a “Scum of the Earth List” featuring only the scummy 5% and let the other 95% go streaking on their merry way? Save time! Save money! And, oh yeah: Save lives!

    After all, maybe one of the reasons Jaycee Duggard was allegedly imprisoned for 18 years by a known sex offender was that an overburdened police force couldn’t concentrate on creepy Phillip Garrido and the hut behind his house. They were too busy with the 100,000 other Californians on the registry.
    Article Controls

    This brings us to the third problem: The list keeps growing.

    3. Perhaps the gravest danger posed by the Sex Offender Registry is how very easily your own child could end up on it. Consider the case of Ricky.

    Ricky was 16 when he met a girl named Amanda at a teen club. She said she was about his age. They hit it off, started dating and ended up having sex, twice. A while later, Amanda ran away from home. When she thought the better of it, she went to the police. They questioned her and found out about Ricky.

    Amanda, as it turns out, was only 13. So when the police tracked down Ricky and he admitted they’d had sex, he was arrested. Though Amanda’s parents did not want to press charges, the district attorney did. In the end, Ricky took a plea to avoid jail time. Now he is registered as a sex offender. For life. There are thousands and thousands of teens like him on the list.
    Rate This Story


    It is hard to get anything–an education, housing, job, even a pew in church (because offenders are forbidden to step foot anywhere children congregate)–when you’re a registered offender.

    An 18-year-old senior who has sex with his freshman girlfriend can end up on the list. A 19-year-old who sleeps with his underage sweetheart can end up there, too, even if they plan to get married. In a blink, boys go from normal, horny teens to official sex offenders on the registry–a registry that sounds so helpful.

    But is all screwed up.

  37. mother says:

    Dr. Phil, thank you for your article.
    An important point hat I am not sure has been brought out here, is that fact John Albert Gardner was apparently guilty of multiple parole violations. What was he doing on the street when either of these young ladies were killed? It should NEVER have been allowed to happen. I don’t understand.
    Until we start to uphold the laws and rules that we have, it seems to me that we will never be able to make our world safer and better.
    I believe we start when our children are young to teach them that rules are OK to be ignored, or to be broken. It starts with, “clean up your toys or you won;t be allowed to go outside: and next thing we know, toys are still all over, but Johnny is out on the trampoline. When they are in junior high, there is a dress code – behaviour code and from my experience – broken and ignored completely, and no one seems notice or care. I know parents who buy alcohol for their underage teens because, “well, they deserve to party” but to my mind- when we condone and worse participate in breaking the law with our children, we can’t be surprised whenthat accelerates.
    I am not in anyway saying that every kid who underage drinks, or whatever the rule break, is going to become a horrible rapist and murderer, I am saying, that from an early age- we need to teach consequences for actions, and we need to uphold the laws we do have, or we will never be able to protect our children.
    In John Albert Gardner’s case and cases like his where a child has been brutally raped, compassion must lie with the victims and the protection of any future victim, castration, permanent ankle monitoring, injection of female hormones, WHATEVER it would have taken to keep Amber and Chelsea safe and at the least burden to us as tax-payers. When we so brutally destroy the rights of another, we lose the privilege of certain rights for ourselves.
    To the parents of these girls and all parents in similar situations, my heart breaks for you, but your strength and determination keep me humbled. May God bless you!

  38. Raynoch says:

    None can doubt the vercatiy of this article.

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