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(TRENTON) - The Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D- Middlesex/Somerset/Union) that would impose a mandatory prison time of 25 years to life for those convicted of sexually abusing children under the age of 13.
The bill is modeled after Florida's "Jessica Lunsford Act," named after a nine-year-old Florida resident who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005.
"Right now, an individual convicted of abusing a child younger than 13 could face anywhere from 10 to 20 years in prison. This bill would upgrade the punishment to a mandatory 25 years before parole could even be considered. Given the heinous nature of the crime, they deserve nothing less," said Green. "The fate that these children endured is an affront to human decency and a fate that no one deserves. We must do everything in our power to protect our children from sexual predators."
Contact Eva Loayza at (609) 847-3500
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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