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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Triple-threat deterrence: How Oregon's Aaron's Law can prevent a kidnapping

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--With more than 200,000 US children suffering parental and family abductions every year, year after year, it is clear that current criminal and family law remedies are inadequate.

Far too often, people decide to abduct their own children (or, like Kory Wright, to take part in the abduction of someone else’s children), knowingly committing a criminal act, because they realize that they are likely to get away with it. They usually do.

Some 20% of parental and family abductions involve more than one perpetrator, and not all perpetrators are either family members or known to the child(ren).

Some abductions are impulsive or taken in haste. Others might be the result of much pre-planning, where the perpetrators coldly resolve well in advance to take a course of criminal conduct that will shatter the lives of their young victims.

Aaron’s Law fills key gaps, skirting both the criminal and family law processes to offer triple-threat deterrence, real reasons for many a would-be perpetrator to reconsider.

Oregon’s unique law also provides several new tools to resolve these soul-crushing conflicts where children are abducted by persons they love and trust.

Triple-threat deterrence

1. Under Aaron’s Law, the Court can immediately order the parties into counseling directed at educating the parties to the harm their actions are causing the children, and order them to pay the cost of the counseling.

2. Under Aaron’s Law, the Court can immediately assign a mental health professional and a legal advocate to protect the wellbeing of the children, and order the parties to the conflict to pay for these services as well.

3. Also under Aaron’s Law, both adult and child victims have recourse against
the perpetrators for special, general and punitive damages, for the cost of a life, for the loss of a future, for the destruction of a personality.

Had these provisions been in effect in 1996, my children would have been kept safe, and my son would still be alive today. There would have been no abduction.

Kory Wright would have been subject to Aaron’s Law, and this fact alone would have dissuaded him from organizing and perpetuating the crime. That’s the bottom line.

More on this later, to be sure….

I’ve written extensively about the kidnapping and Aaron’s Law in earlier posts on and

Link to Senate Bill 1041, Aaron’s Law:

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