Powell boys' grandfather says new bill doesn't go far enough

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 4 at 6:26 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Nearly a year after the murder of his grandsons, Chuck Cox told lawmakers in Olympia Monday that a bill does not go far enough to protect future potential victims.

"That needs to be changed," Cox told Senators at the Human Services and Corrections Committee hearing.

Senate Bill 5315 was written following the state investigation into the deaths of Cox's grandsons, Charlie and Braden Powell on February 5, 2012.

Their father, Josh Powell, killed the boys during a state-approved visit at his Pierce County home before killing himself.

At the time, Powell was a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, in Utah.

The state took custody of the boys after Josh Powell's father was arrested on voyeurism charges.

The week before Josh Powell killed his sons, a family court judge ordered him to go through a psychosexual evaluation -- an in-depth examination of someone's sexual past.

Cox said he feared for the boys' safety, but said he was ignored by the state.

In the legislation discussed Monday, lawmakers want social workers to consult with law enforcement if a parent is involved in a criminal case.

Social workers would also have to reassess a parent's visitation conditions if a psychosexual evaluation has been ordered.

Cox supports those changes, but he told lawmakers other elements of the bill put too much emphasis on reuniting parents with their children.

Cox told lawmakers the safety and welfare of the child needs to be the top priority.

Cox testified in favor of a bill last Friday to restrict or block parents from having visitation rights if they are murder suspects.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, said the bill may be changed to include parents considered "persons of interest" as well.

Cox said he had never been to the Capitol campus in Olympia before the death of his grandsons. He said trying to change the laws helps him deal with his loss.

"It's not going to bring back the boys but at least it could help other children," Cox said. "That makes me feel I can do something positive that I do have control over.”

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