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  • The Adam Walsh Act: Possibilities and Challenges for State Management of Sex Offenders

Press Room

The Adam Walsh Act: Possibilities and Challenges for State Management of Sex Offenders

2007 NAAG Spring Meeting Podcasts

Panel Discussion

March 7, 2007

Moderator: Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General
Time: 9:40, mp3

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On November 5, 2002, Illinois voters made history by electing Senator Lisa Madigan as the state’s first female Attorney General. With experience ranging from teaching young women in apartheid South Africa to working with police on Chicago’s west side to help keep kids safe, Lisa Madigan is a recognized community leader, lawyer and educator.

Madigan received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1988. After graduation, she moved to Africa at the height of apartheid and served as a volunteer school teacher to young Zulu women in KwaZulu, South Africa, helping them overcome poverty, racism, violence and oppression through education.

Upon returning to Chicago, Madigan took a job with Wright College and began work on Chicago’s west side, partnering with police in the Austin Community to develop the Positive Alternatives Project, an after school weekend program designed to keep kids away from drugs and gangs.

Madigan continued her work in community building at Wright College as an Assistant Dean for Adult and Continuing Education. In this position, she directed the Senior Academy for Lifelong Learning and Wright’s Family College.

Madigan’s work with police and families prompted her to attend Loyola University Law School. After graduating, she went to work as a litigator for the Chicago law firm of Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd., where she specialized in employment law.

In 1998, voters in the 17th District on Chicago’s north side elected Madigan to the Illinois Senate. In the Senate, she served as the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee and was a member of the Governor’s Education Funding Advisory Board and the Governor’s Task Force on Universal Access to Preschool. In addition, Madigan served on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. She also co-chaired the Conference of Women Legislators.


John Walsh, Co-Founder, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
Time: 17:40, mp3

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At a ceremony in the Rose Garden on July 27, 2006, President George W. Bush signed "The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act," a law to track and apprehend convicted sex offenders who disappear after their release from prison. The date was exactly 25 years after John Walsh and his wife Revé suffered the most horrendous loss that any parents could endure: the abduction and murder of their six-year-old son, Adam. Since that day in 1981, John has dedicated himself to fighting on behalf of children and all crime victims. As a result, thousands of victims have found justice, and dozens of abducted children have been safely brought home.

Most people know Walsh as the dedicated host of "America's Most Wanted,” the man whose television program has helped take down nearly 1,000 dangerous fugitives in the past 20 years. John and Revé Walsh's experience taught them that the nation was in need of leadership in the fight to protect children, and they decided to create something positive out of their tragedy. From the ad hoc organization they put together to help with the search for Adam, they established the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, which eventually merged with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which they co-founded in 1984. The NCMEC provides resources to parents, children and law enforcement in the United States and internationally. The charity consistently receives an A+ rating for its ability to spend more than 90 cents of every dollar raised on programming. Its incredible public/private partnerships keep the NCMEC as a leading example of a highly respected and effective non-profit.

Although he's never held political office, Walsh has been the driving force behind major pieces of child protection legislation. This hard work led to Walsh being honored five times by four presidents; Ronald Reagan (twice), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. He's been honored numerous times by many local, state and federal agencies. In addition to being named "Man Of The Year" by both the US Marshals and the FBI, the US Marshals also made Walsh an honorary Marshal. Walsh is only the third man to have received this honor in the organization's two hundred year history.

Walsh is the best-selling author of three books: Tears Of Rage, No Mercy & Public Enemies. He also recently teamed up with the creator of "Baby Einstein," Julie Clark, to create a series of DVDs called "The Safe Side." The two DVDs, "Stranger Safety" and "Internet Safety", have been lauded as exceptional resources for parents and kids in dealing with predators in the real world and online.

John Walsh lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Revé. They were blessed with three more children after Adam: Meghan, Callahan and Hayden.

Cara Smith, Policy Director for the Illinois Office of the Attorney General
Time: 9:39, mp3

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Ms. Smith received her Juris Doctor in 1992 from the Loyola University School of Law. From 1992-1997, Ms. Smith served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Illinois Office of Attorney General and defended state agencies and employees in a wide variety of civil litigation cases. From 1997-1999, Ms. Smith served as in-house counsel for Pace Suburban Bus. From 2000-2003, Ms. Smith served as in-house counsel for the Illinois Department of Corrections, where she concentrated in juvenile, parole and sex offender management issues. In May, 2003, Ms. Smith joined Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office as Policy Director. Ms. Smith currently serves as chairperson of the Illinois Sex Offender Management Board.

Marc Dann, Ohio Attorney General
Time: 11:20, mp3

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It was Attorney General Marc Dann’s concern for the problems that beset the men and women who drove up to the front door of his law practice in the Mahoning Valley—problems caused by job loss, a failing economy, drug abuse, domestic violence, and lack of health care--that motivated Marc to enter public service, first as a member of the Liberty Local Schools Board of Education, then as a member of the Ohio Senate and now as Attorney General.

As a member of the Liberty Board of Education, he waded into the battle to fix Ohio’s broken school funding system, led efforts to make college more affordable and accessible, and worked tirelessly to protect local school districts from state funding cuts.

After entering the Ohio Senate in 2003, Attorney General Dann was recognized by his colleagues and the public as one of the General Assembly’s most thoughtful and tenacious members. He acted immediately when members of the National Guard told him that Ohio’s fighting men and women were sent to Iraq without the lifesaving equipment they needed. Not only did he stand with soldiers, he fought for additional funding to buy the body armor.

His work on behalf of families and seniors includes opposing the privatization of Social Security and exposing and ending corruption. Marc played a critical role in the investigation of “Coingate,” the scandal surrounding the investment of $50 million by the Bureau of Workers Compensation in rare coins peddled by Tom Noe, a long-time Republican fundraiser and powerbroker.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Senator Marc Dann is a 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He graduated from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1987.

John F. Clark, Director, U.S. Marshals Service
Time: 10:40, mp3

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On March 23, 2006, John F. Clark was sworn-in as the ninth Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, officially assuming control of the agency where he had been designated by President Bush to serve as Acting Director since August 1, 2005.

Prior to his role as Acting Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, John F. Clark was appointed by President George W. Bush on November 12, 2002 to serve as the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes the Alexandria, Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia offices.

For over 20 years, Marshal Clark is a veteran of the United States Marshals Service and, prior to his appointment as U.S. Marshal, he was the Acting Marshal and Chief Deputy for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has held numerous senior management positions within the Marshals Service, including Chief of the Internal Affairs Division and Chief of the International Fugitive Investigations Division. Prior to his employment with the U.S. Marshals, Clark was employed by the United States Capitol Police and the United States Border Patrol. Marshal Clark holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University. He and his wife reside in Oak Hill, Virginia.

Laura Rogers, Director, SMART Office (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
Time: 18:39, mp3

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In December 2006, Laura L. Rogers was appointed by President Bush to be the Director of the newly established SMART Office for the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Prior to SMART, Ms. Rogers was the Director of the National Institute for Training Child Abuse Professionals (NITCAP), an organization dedicated to excellence and providing forward-looking training for child abuse professionals. Ms. Rogers has trained throughout the United States and internationally on the prosecution and investigation of criminal cases involving child homicide, child sexual and physical abuse and maltreatment and sexual abuse involving victims with developmental disabilities.

Prior to founding NITCAP in 2004, Ms. Rogers was a Senior Attorney at the American Prosecutors Research Institute’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA) since 1999. Ms. Rogers was recognized as the Centers expert in topics such as child fatalities and victims with developmental disabilities. Prior to joining NCPCA, Ms. Rogers was a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego, California for eleven years. She served in the Family Violence division for 7 years prosecuting child sexual abuse, physical abuse and child homicide cases as well as domestic violence assault and homicide cases. In 1995, pursuant to California’s new Sex Offender Registration law, Ms. Rogers spearheaded all prosecutions and instituted training for all law enforcement agencies in her jurisdiction. Ms. Rogers is currently the Chair of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus Review Board on Sexual Abuse and Pastoral Conduct. She has served on the California Governor’s Board for the Association of Retarded Citizens, and Columbia University’s Blue Ribbon Panel to establish an EMT curriculum. While living in London, England, Ms. Rogers taught law at the university level and served as SKY Television’s American Legal Correspondent. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Rogers served as an adjunct law professor at George Mason University School of Law teaching Trial Advocacy and has taught Trial Practice at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.

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