Attorney General Lisa Madigan promised that going after child predators would continue to be a top priority if re-elected, while her GOP opponent suggests electronic monitoring as a way of preventing sex crimes against minors.
Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, is in a four-way race in the Nov. 2 election against Republican Steve Kim of Northbrook, Chicago Libertarian Bill Malan and Green Party candidate David Black of Belvidere.
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Madigan said her No. 1 campaign issue is protecting communities from sexual predators. She touted her office's involvement in running the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which investigates and trains police in high-tech exploitation cases and new efforts to track down child pornographers.
Parents should double-check the Illinois State Police's list of sex offenders to be informed about who lives in their community, she cautioned.
"I don't think most people recognize how pervasive this conduct is," Madigan said, noting that 80 percent of the more than 24,500 registered sex offenders committed crimes against someone under the age of 18.
Kim also said the issue would be a major focus if elected. He recommends requiring convicted child sex offenders to undergo electronic monitoring after release so police can track their movements.
Kim said he wanted to consult with law enforcement before giving specifics on how the program would work.
"I'm not a Big Brother government advocate, but we need to be protecting our children," he said. "We need to weigh their (sex offenders') rights, but we need to look after the safety and security of our citizens."
Both Madigan and Kim think it's important to educate children and parents about potential dangers lurking on social networking sites from sexual predators and the risks of releasing information or photos that can be misused.
Meanwhile, Malan said Illinois had fallen behind other places like New York City on issues such as requiring the state to establish a standard protocol for processing rape kits and submitting them for testing in a timely manner. He said Madigan needed to spend more time fighting government corruption and less on news releases.
Black was unavailable for comment.