Originally posted on 11/21/2003 on the now defunct Newshax.com
SANTA BARBARA, CA - In an effort to keep his promise that he would not treat singer Michael Jackson any differently than anyone else, Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Anderson announced a new policy in dealing with accused child molesters. Santa Barbara police will now allow suspected child molesters to be warned of their arrest ahead of time, and give them an unspecified amount of time to wander the country while they negotiate their surrender.
Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Anderson described the new policy as being "the only reasonable alternative," given the latitude extended to Michael Jackson. After Jackson was accused on Wednesday of multiple counts of child abuse, police faced some criticism for their treatment of the pop star. Anderson insisted that wasn't true and that, in the future, everyone accused of molesting children will be given the same latitude.
Anderson went on to detail the process, which would start by announcing on national television that an arrest warrant has been issued for the suspect. That would be a change from the usual policy where the police try to surprise the suspect to keep him from escaping before they arrive. The police will also wait for the suspect to leave the state so that he is out of their jurisdiction, preventing the police from carrying out the arrest.
Neither would the Santa Barbara police make arrangements with law enforcement outside the state to arrest and extradite the suspected child molester back to California. Instead, in the interests of fairness, suspected child molesters will be given millions of dollars and their own private plane. They will be allowed to board the plane with three prepubescent children, access to their money, and a passport and fly around the country while they decide if they want to surrender. When and if they do surrender, the suspected child molester will be allowed to dictate the time and place of his or her arrest. This would include where they are booked, how they are booked, and whether their photograph will be released to the media. Once the suspected child molester is booked, he will be allowed to go free.
When reporters asked if the new policy would be extended to other crimes, Sheriff Anderson said no. "Bank robbery, kidnapping, murder, these are all serious crimes. We wouldn't want those kinds of people running around loose. But with something like sexual misconduct with children, I think we can cut them some slack."