Tennessee Implements Law Mandating Tracking of Abusers

Tennessee Implements Law Mandating Tracking of Abusers

(LibertyInsider.org) – Domestic abuse results in numerous tragedies every year. One man in Tennessee allowed the pain of his losses to fuel a campaign for improved laws to protect domestic violence survivors. As a result, the state implemented new legislation mandating monitored GPS tracking of domestic violence suspects released from custody.

Tennessee officially enacted the Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act on July 1 after Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the law on May 28. It signified a bittersweet victory for Alex Youn, who set the wheels to make the legislation a reality in motion after domestic violence ripped his world apart more than three years ago.

On April 12, 2021, Shaun Varsos reportedly broke into Debbie Sisco’s home carrying zip ties, battery acid, and guns. Sisco was Varsos’s mother-in-law, and her daughter, Marie Varsos, was staying with her after a previous domestic abuse incident during which Debbie called the police after her husband allegedly strangled and threatened her with a gun. Officers arrested Shaun.

Varsos reportedly killed his wife and mother-in-law that April night, and then later committed suicide.

Youn, Sisco’s son and Marie Varsos’s brother, explained that in Tennessee, the judge could optionally have required a monitored GPS tracking device as part of Shaun Varsos’s bail release agreement. However, he didn’t, and most judges typically haven’t, according to CBS News.

Youn said he believed his mother and sister might still be alive had the judge made a different decision. Instead, “Two people that I love dearly were just quickly ripped out of my life,” Youn stated.

Youn worked to make GPS monitoring of abuse suspects released on bail mandatory rather than optional. He worked with State Sen. Paul Rose (R) and State Rep. Clay Doggett (R) to introduce the legislation into both chambers simultaneously.

The GPS tracking device would notify victims by a phone app or electronic device when monitored suspects move within a specific radius of them. It would allow victims to take cover in a locked safe room and call the police for help. A monitoring service would also call the police when suspects breach exclusion zones, like a victim’s house.

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