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This happened in my city!

Offender caught with 20-month-old girl in library restroom
The man has a prior conviction in Texas for assaulting a woman.

By TOM ALEX
REGISTER STAFF WRITER

October 5, 2005


Police said a registered sex offender who lived at a Des Moines homeless shelter kidnapped a toddler Tuesday at the downtown library and sexually assaulted her in a locked men's room while employees worked to open the door.

James Carson Effler Jr., 32, grabbed the 20-month-old girl about 11 a.m. as she played on the floor near her baby sitter, who was using a library computer, investigators said.

Library employees helped the baby sitter search for the girl before they heard a child's cry. Employees then called police and removed the handle on the restroom's door to gain access and reach the girl; they held Effler until officers got there, Capt. Kelly Willis said.

"Most of the police work was done by the library staff before we even arrived," Willis said.

No one else was hurt. The child was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and her parents were contacted. The extent of her injuries was not made public.

The incident illustrates the difficulty lawmakers face in trying to attack child molestation by such measures as requiring offenders to register with the state or limiting where they may live.

Effler was convicted in Texas in 2003 for sexually assaulting a 31-year-old woman.

Javier Sambrano, public information officer for the El Paso, Texas, police department, said the conviction against Effler stemmed from a May 2002 incident in which he knocked on the door at the home of a 31-year-old woman and asked to use the telephone. Once Effler gained entry, he sexually assaulted the woman.

"They did not know each other, he was not someone she knew, but in the area where the victim lived, many of the neighbors often would ask to use the phone," Sambrano said.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and later paroled. Officials have not determined how long he has lived in Iowa.

Effler is listed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry, but because the conviction involved an adult victim, he was not covered by a new state law that bans child molesters from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center.

Effler, who police say lives at Churches United Shelter, 205 15th St., reported his address to registry officials as 201 1/2 Fifth St. in West Des Moines.

He is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree sexual assault and failure to comply with rules of the registry, because he was not living at the address listed. The kidnapping charge is the most serious of the three; it carries a life prison term.

The baby sitter noticed the child missing about 11 a.m., police said. She told officers the girl had been playing at her feet while she surfed the Internet at a table not far from the men's restroom on the main level of the library, 100 Locust St.

The baby sitter and library employees immediately began a search for the child, and then someone heard a child scream in the restroom and saw an adult's shadow on the other side of the frosted glass.

Library workers tried to force their way into the restroom, then called for a maintenance worker with a screwdriver.

Willis said that employees William Stokes and Pam Deitrick removed the handle and opened the door, and that they then pulled the child out of the restroom and shut Effler inside.

"They are heroes," Willis said. "They grabbed the baby and shut the door on him."

Library Director Kay Runge referred all questions about the investigation to the police.

Police have been called to the main library 51 times this year for a host of minor problems.

Tuesday's incident "was an awful thing, horrendous," Acting City Manager Rick Clark said. "We are really thankful the library staff was there and attentive and took the initiative to do something about this."

Effler was jailed in May for public urination and arrested less than a month later for drunken driving. He spent 30 days in jail, according to court records.

Records also show Effler was charged with shoplifting in Windsor Heights on Aug. 29. He was ordered to pay a $50 fine.

Doug Epperson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University who helped Minnesota officials develop guidelines to evaluate sex offenders before they are released from prison, said child abductions by strangers are rare.

"Typically, with a victim that young, it's a related perpetrator or a perpetrator who is connected in some way with the parents, or it could be a friend of the family," he said. "Normally a stranger would not have access to a victim that young."

The March abduction and murder of 10-year-old Jetseta Gage of Cedar Rapids — the man accused in her death, Roger Paul Bentley, 38, was a friend of the family — sparked Iowa lawmakers to pass a handful of laws to crack down on sex criminals.

Police Sgt. Barry Arnold said 20 to 30 of the Churches United shelter's 125 or so residents have been warned that they must move under the residency restriction law. Effler was not one of them.

Register staff writer Abby Simons contributed to this article.[/B]
 

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OMG!! What the h*ll is wrong with people today?!? Disgusting.
 

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Horrible!!!!!!

I bet that babysitter was fired....how do you not realize someone picked up a 20 month old child from supposedly at your feet. She must have been REALLY busy to not have noticed that!
Or the child wandered off...
 

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These people truly disgust me. I think they should be casterated without anesthesia and then hung. No punishment would be too cruel. What the heck is happening to our human race? My deepest sympathy for the childs's mother and family.
 

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One of the most heartbreaking things I ever did was go to Megan Kanka's funeral....I waited for her birth, held her as a baby and watched her grow into a little girl....her mother and I were Room Mothers together for her older daughter and we would wait for our older girls to come out of the school...my daughter played on Megan's street many times...it was the all American street with children running and playing and parents talking while the children ran and played... I know that some of you will not know the name Megan Kanka....but she is the reason we have Megan's Law.

The reason I write now...is because as a society we are so easy to jump to the conclusion that this babysitter did something wrong. She may have not watched as closly as a parent...or she may have. But she did not harm this child...the child molester did. We must stop blaming the victims and start blaming the person who actually assaults. Megan was outside in a street that was litterally so Apple Pie, Mulberry that it was shocking....still is extremely shocking....I have never been the same...this could have been my child.

No matter what that babysitter did....it does not give anyone the right to harm that child....

Megan and all the other children who have been hurt and killed by sick people, please be blessed by the hand of God. I know Megan is...her mother has communicated with her and she is safe in his loving arms.
 

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Originally posted by Teddyandme@Oct 5 2005, 11:27 AM
One of the most heartbreaking things I ever did was go to Megan Kanka's funeral....I waited for her birth, held her as a baby and watched her grow into a little girl....her mother and I were Room Mothers together for her older daughter and we would wait for our older girls to come out of the school...my daughter played on Megan's street many times...it was the all American street with children running and playing and parents talking while the children ran and played... I know that some of you will not know the name Megan Kanka....but she is the reason we have Megan's Law.

The reason I write now...is because as a society we are so easy to jump to the conclusion that this babysitter did something wrong.  She may have not watched as closly as a parent...or she may have.  But she did not harm this child...the child molester did.  We must stop blaming the victims and start blaming the person who actually assaults.  Megan was outside in a street that was litterally so Apple Pie, Mulberry that it was shocking....still is extremely shocking....I have never been the same...this could have been my child. 

No matter what that babysitter did....it does not give anyone the right to harm that child....

Megan and all the other children who have been hurt and killed by sick people, please be blessed by the hand of God.  I know Megan is...her mother has communicated with her and she is safe in his loving arms. 
 

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I have to agree with you here, we should not be so quick to blame the sitter, how was she to know there was a predator so near to her? I blame the way these people are allowed to roam freely among our society just waiting for the opportunity to strike in a split second. As my hubby says they should all be put together somewhere where they cannot mingle with the general public and prey on the innocent, somewhere that they cannot escape.
My heart goes out to that poor little girl and her family and also her babysitter too because none of us know what she is feeling right now, and I am sure she is very upset by what has happened and if she could have avoided it she would have, but these predators are very cunning.
There is a web site you can go to that tells you where these people are supposed to be living in your area so you can be aware of their presence in your town. Off hand I am not sure of the addy but I am sure someone here will know it. Hubby told me we have at least 20 predators living right here in town and yet the children in our edition are always playing on the street. The thing is it is so unfair that the children of today must be afraid to be normal kids out playing with their friends without the necessity of someone watching at all times, but that is society today, and I feel the laws are not adequate to protect the innocent, all they are worried about is human rights, let me tell you this, I do not consider any person who grabs a child and commits such atrocities the least bit human and therefore he or she has no rights in my eyes.
 

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Originally posted by Teddyandme@Oct 5 2005, 10:27 AM
No matter what that babysitter did....it does not give anyone the right to harm that child....

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I was by no means saying it gave anyone the right to harm the child.
There is nothing in this world that would give anyone the right to do that!

I am a skin-kid mother myself, and I am sorry, but it would be really hard to NOT blame the baby-sitter if it was me though.
Especially with a child under two. Sorry, but that is the way I feel. We are more likely to let our older children wander/play alone than we are our younger toddlers. She should have watched more carefully imo.

It could have just as easily happened to me...and I pray to God that it never does. If the child was in my care and disappeared, I would blame/never forgive myself either.

I am sorry for the loss of Megan, and I am glad that her mother had you as a good friend to stand by her side.
 

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Child molestation should be punished the same as murder, with life sentences without parole or death. Period. They are absolutely useless to society and should be gotten rid of.

Call me harsh! But that's what I think.
 

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Originally posted by a2z@Oct 5 2005, 12:35 PM
Child molestation should be punished the same as murder, with life sentences without parole or death. Period. They are absolutely useless to society and should be gotten rid of.

Call me harsh! But that's what I think.
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I agree with you there too, look at how many of them reoffend once released and nine times out of ten they alwasy do something more horrid than before. I think of the poor child and the family of the victim who have to somehow go on living with what has happened, the child is physically and mentally damaged or even worse has been killed and the family live with the guilt of not being able to protect their child, wondering what they could have done to avoid it happening, an entire family's life ruined because the laws are all so very wrong. Even if these creeps wear a tracking device, what good is that going to do, it doesn't tell anyone what they are doing, just where they are. I say get rid of the menaces once and for all so they cannot hurt another child ever again, because once a child molester always a child molester and some day they will strike again.
 

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I have a theory:

In the middle of death valley or the largest desert we have, there should be several jails: one for sex offenders, one for murderers, etc. And let the sex offenders molest each other, the murderers kill each other, etc. They would be away from society and it would be hard for them to escape.

Sounds good to me.
 

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My first thought was to use these monsters as shark bait! (instead of innocent dogs). These monsters might think twice if they knew they would be hooked throught their testicles and dragged through the ocean as shark bait. We should donate these slugs to France and exchange them for those helpless dogs.
Just my opinion-while I am not for the death penalty, in some cases death is too good for these less than humans!
 

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I am so happy that this situation had a positive outcome. Too many times child stranger abductions end in horror. What happened to this baby was awful, but it could have been a lot worse if not for the efforts of concerned citizens. Sometimes deeds that erode our trust in humanity are met with acts that restore our faith...as was the case here.

Now on to my soapbox...in this country we place greater protections under the law for our objects than we do for our children. We have Federal sentencing mandates for crimes involving car jacking and guns, yet we have no Federal sentencing guidelines for crimes involving children. Now I am the first to say that we should have strong laws for the commission of crimes like carjacking and killing of police officers, but we should also have the same protections afforded to our children. I am all for mandatory life sentencing for the killing of police officers, but cannot understand why the most defenseless portion of our society isn't offered the same level of protection. A police officer accepts a certain amount of risk when undertaking his/her job...they are trained and armed. A child is not armed, is not trained, and most often does not have the capacity to assess the level of danger in a particular situation. Like I said, I think that mandatory life in prision sentences for killing police officers is warranted, just, and correct. I just feel that the same life sentences should be imposed on those who commit crimes against children. Stepping down now....
 

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Did anyone see Oprah yesterday? It was all about child molestors and she is posting on her website a bunch of men that are wanted. If any of her viewers lead police to the arrest of any of these men, she will give that person a check for $100,000. She started a fight against child molestors and wants the whole community to get involved so they change the laws. If someone commits a sex crime, they should be put away for life.

Visit her website and check out the pictures...maybe one of you have seen these horroble men.
 

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Oh that is so true, and now because of the hurricanes down south there are over 3,000 sexual predators missing in society somewhere. Now I tell you, what is the good of having tracking devices on these animals when all they needed to do was to remove them and simply disappear, and now no one knows where they are.
Had they been where they belong in a lockup somewhere this would never have happened. My opinion is they should all be sent to Alcatraz or even better put in jail without the protection from the other inmates and let them deal with them, because most of the inmates in the prison systems will take care of them as they are so against child molesters. These folks will teach them a lesson they will never ever forget.
It's all about civil rights, what about the civil rights of the children they harm?
 

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A few years ago, some family friend's left their two older children (ages 4 & 5) in charge of their 2 year old in a department store while she and her husband shopped for clothes. I am sure they were close by, but obviously not close enough. Anyway, some man grabbed the 2 year old and tried to make off with her in the mall. When the parents realized she was missing, they pratically had the entire mall looking for her. They found her in the double doorway that leads to the parking lot. I guess some good semaritants saw a man with a child that fit the description and they approached him and asked why the girl was screaming so bad. They guy freaked out, dropped her and took off. They never did catch the guy, but luckily she wasn't harmed.

My mom was always paranoid about stuff like this when we were kids. I remember my little brother would have to use a public bathroom and my mom would make him use the woman's bathroom. He was like 12 and soooo embarrassed, but my mom wouldn't give in. She would tell him to go in the ladies bathroom with her or hold it.
 

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Originally posted by Nichole@Oct 5 2005, 02:32 PM
A few years ago, some family friend's left their two older children (ages 4 & 5) in charge of their 2 year old in a department store while she and her husband shopped for clothes.  I am sure they were close by, but obviously not close enough.  Anyway, some man grabbed the 2 year old and tried to make off with her in the mall.  When the parents realized she was missing, they pratically had the entire mall looking for her.  They found her in the double doorway that leads to the parking lot.  I guess some good semaritants saw a man with a child that fit the description and they approached him and asked why the girl was screaming so bad.  They guy freaked out, dropped her and took off.  They never did catch the guy, but luckily she wasn't harmed.

My mom was always paranoid about stuff like this when we were kids.  I remember my little brother would have to use a public bathroom and my mom would make him use the woman's bathroom.  He was like 12 and soooo embarrassed, but my mom wouldn't give in.  She would tell him to go in the ladies bathroom with her or hold it.
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I too was the very same with my kids and never let them out of my sight. When they were growing up there were some awful things happening in Australia too.
If anything had ever happened to my kids I wouldn't like to be the one who did it, I would not hesitate to deal with it.
Being a parent in this day and age is very difficult knowing what is lurking out there. It is so hard for parents because the kids have to be protected and yet they also need to be able to be kids and play and enjoy their childhood without the fear of what may happen. The most important thing is to teach children to be aware and not to talk to strangers or worse still go with them.
Stranger Danger must be taught to all children from a very early age.
 

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Tlunn,

Please know that I was not pointing any fingers at anyone in particular. I myself had the same reaction that you did...what the heck was the babysitter doing. How could she not be watching.... I was a total crazy person when my daughter was younger...you know a week ago( when she turned 23) . I watched her like a hawk even before this happened with Megan....in fact Megan's mother and I actually got coloring books and story books that talked about strangers for our whole school before this happened....we all thought we were safe....we were not.

I was just trying to put this in some kind of perspective. For those of you who do not know who Megan Kanka is....she is the little girl who was murdered by her neighbor and this event transformed both state and federal laws...Megan's Law is the one that allows people around them to be notified of the Sex Offenders existence in the neighborhood and to be put on the internet so that we can track them....it has been an uphill battle.

At the time, many asked why wasn't someone watching her better....and I have to say again....this neighborhood screamed safe, and yet it was not. A child should be allowed to play in there own yard without feeling like they will be killed. My child was pretty near attached to me when she was little, but that also should not have to be...when I was little I remember riding my bike out of my parents world..and having so much fun going to the ball park and the park and just exploring....today we would never dream of letting our children do that. And it is because we have the knowledge of these preditors...

I know that rape victims deal with this over and over again...what were they wearing, where were they, why were they out so late, did she have sex with others...besides the attacker....not one of these questions give reason for a rape to occur....yet we do try and blame the attacked.

So, I will say again....we need to start putting our anger in the right place...the attacker has all the responsiblity.

I pray for the babysitter as well as the whole family.
 

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This just makes me so angry that we live in a society where these people can roam around our children. I get sick that they get a slap on the wrist in most cases. Just about everyday we hear on the news about a young child missing. I think men who do this should be hung by their #@##* and women who do this should be r#@*& until they die.

I am sorry to be so blunt but I HATE people like this! It is just my opinion!
 
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