AUGUSTA (AP) – Last week’s abduction and sexual assault of a 14-year-old Augusta girl has prompted a first step toward strengthening Maine’s laws to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Capital-area lawmakers and District Attorney Evert Fowle met Monday and came up with several suggestions, including more scrutiny over sex offenders, more evaluations, mandatory minimum prison terms and possible civil confinement after their sentences end.

The victim in last week’s attack identified a convicted sex offender, Albert Dumas Jr., 33, of Whitefield, as the perpetrator. Dumas has been charged with kidnapping and gross sexual assault in Kennebec and Lincoln counties and remains jailed pending court appearances.

Dumas has previous convictions for kidnapping, gross sexual assault and attempted gross sexual assault on victims who were 16 and 19. He had been released after serving about 60 percent of his 20-year prison sentence when last week’s attack occurred.

State Rep. Arthur Lerman, D-Augusta, organized Monday’s meeting after he was contacted by a relative of the victim.

Suggestions to prevent similar attacks include making community safety an issue when setting bail, setting 25-year minimum sentences for second convictions involving the most serious sex crimes and allowing civil confinement for offenders deemed too risky for release into the community.

Washington State has a model civil confinement program, and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld civil commitment for sex offenders.

Other ideas stemming from the Augusta meeting include limiting time off for good behavior and awarding it only for progress in treatment, increasing the maximum sentence for the most serious crimes to 40 years and developing community treatment programs to closely monitor sex offenders.

State Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, said she and Rep. William Browne, R-Vassalboro, hope to sponsor legislative initiatives that may result from some of the suggestions advanced Monday. Lerman is not seeking re-election.

“We’re looking for something for people to react to,” Mitchell said. Changes to Maine’s sex offender registry are already being considered.

Information from: Kennebec Journal,

AP-ES-08-22-06 0904EDT

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