This month, Stop Child Predators releases a new national survey that found, not surprisingly, 77% of Americans say child sex offenders should serve 25 years to life in prison and be electronically monitored for life for committing a sexual assault against children who are 13 years of age or younger, according to the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey.
Read on to hear about how we are working to translate this support into child safety legislation, specifically in New Jersey where we joined victims' families, child advocates and so many others at a press conference to encourage passage of a measure that would impose mandatory 25-year prison sentences on anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 and would impose a sentence of up to 3-years for anyone caught harboring a sex offender.
You'll read about Mark Lunsford and Rosemarie D'Alessandro joining together to encourage New Jersey legislators to adopt "Jessica's Law," named for Mark's daughter. Jessica was nine-years old when she was abducted, raped and murdered in Florida in 2005 by a twice convicted sex offender. Rosemarie is all too familiar with the horror. Her seven-year old daughter, Joan, was raped and slain in 1973 by a Hillsdale, New Jersey neighbor while she delivered Girl Scout cookies. Joan's Joy is dedicated in her memory.
Major thanks goes to New Jersey Family Policy Council for coordinating the press conference and for always taking our calls. Thanks also to Team Joan supporters and the other advocates who braved the snow to make their voices heard. Another very special thank you goes to members of Nixmary Brown Soldiers for making signs showing their support for Jessica's Law. Nixmary Brown Soldiers formed in the wake of seven-year old Nixmary's brutal murder by her mother and step-father in New York in 2006. This group is also gathering support for a petition pushing for a national Nixzmary Brown Law that would require life in prison without parole for a first offense of killing or violently molesting a child.
Jessica's Law is being spearheaded by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Senators Diane Allen and Tom Kean who are urging their colleagues to increase the penalties for convicted sex offenders. Over 60 legislators, including Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, are supportive of the initiative which was first introduced in the New Jersey legislature in 2005.
Finally, SCP tackles cyberbullying this month. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FourSquare, Tumblr, the list of social networking sites that connect people is constantly growing. Along with all the benefits of the expansion of technology into our daily lives, there are risks, like bullying, which has been linked to a slew of recent teen suicides. Read on to hear about efforts by the White House to prevent furuther tragedies.
The survey was conducted February 22-23, 2011 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. One thousand registered voters were interviewed nationally by telephone. The margin of sampling error is no more than plus or minus 3.2 percent. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the country.
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