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Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Named for a woman who was murdered by a former boyfriend who tracked her from Ohio to New Mexico to California, a new state law is aimed at helping domestic-violence victims escape their abusers.

Signed last week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Bill 978 - also known as ``Peggy's Law'' - makes it misdemeanor for anyone targeted by a domestic-violence restraining order to try to locate the victim by hiring a private investigator, using a friend or relative or any other ``third-party means.''

``This is a unique bill. Once more, California is in the forefront of something. We plan on taking it maybe to Washington,'' said Carol Ensign, executive director of the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council, a sponsor of the bill.

In about 70 percent of domestic-violence cases, the batterer will try to find the victim, Ensign said. Women in abusive relationships are at most danger of being murdered when they leave.

``We know it will help women, and men, too,'' said Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, the author.

The bill was nicknamed for 32-year-old Margaret ``Peggy'' Klinke, who was murdered in 2003 in Turlock.

Klinke fled from Ohio to New Mexico to the San Joaquin Valley to escape a former boyfriend, against whom she got a court restraining order in Ohio, but who tracked her with the use of private investigators. Patrick Kennedy shot Klinke to death in her Turlock apartment, then killed himself.

The incident was brought to Runner's attention by a former Antelope Valley resident who was a longtime friend of the victim.

How often batterers use private investigators to track down women who've fled abusive relationships isn't known, but Ensign said it is common for batterers' friends and relatives to help them.

Just last week, a suspected batterer's relative showed up at the gate to the Lancaster shelter - whose location operators try to keep secret - looking for the woman.

``We had a case one time of a lady at our shelter whose husband beat his girlfriend to get her into the shelter to see if she was there. Batterers will go to extremes,'' Ensign said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 9, 2005

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