Maine donation aimed at monitoring domestic abuse
AUGUSTA, Maine—The father of Dexter resident Amy Lake, who was shot to death with her children in one of Maine's most horrific domestic violence cases, says electronic monitoring for perpetrators could have saved his daughter's life.
On Friday, the state moved closer toward making the monitors a reality. A check for $18,000, raised from a road race in Lake's name last month, was handed over to Gov. Paul LePage during a State House news conference.
The governor, a childhood victim of domestic abuse who has taken on its prevention as a personal crusade, pledged to match the donation with an equal amount from his contingency fund.
The $36,000 will go to a task force to develop guidelines and implement the system in Maine, one of the few states that does not use the satellite technology to track the location of offenders.
"It's what we have been pushing for," said Ralph Bagley of Harmony, who attended the somber news conference. "It's the only thing that would have saved her."
Amy Lake, her daughter Monica, 12, and her son Coty, 13, were killed in June 2011 by Steven Lake, her estranged husband and the children's father. He then took his own life. Steven Lake had threatened his wife and their children previously, prompting his wife to take out a protective order against him.
"She was so fearful, she didn't know what else to do," said Kelley Gay, a close friend.
Despite her efforts to keep Steven Lake away, he turned up at the family's home, armed.
Gay organized the Amy, Coty, Monica Memorial 5K fundraiser that raised the $18,000 donation. The task force will work out the details for the monitoring system, which would give police and victims of domestic abuse immediate notification if the threatening person, wearing a monitoring device, enters an off-limits area.
Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, sponsored legislation enabling the state to accept the donated money for the electronic monitoring fund. He also cosponsored legislation passed this year's session to restrict bail in domestic violence cases for defendants accused of violating a protection order. In addition, judges can no longer waive $25 fees that offenders in violent crimes must pay to compensate victims.
LePage called domestic abuse "a horrible and horrific crime." He noted that 21 of 48 homicides in Maine in 2010-2011 were related to domestic violence.