Please join Stop Child Predators in support of the passage of Jessica’s Law, legislation providing for mandatory sentences and electronic monitoring for convicted child sex offenders.
Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. One in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach adulthood, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Forty-four states have responded to this crisis by passing versions of Jessica’s Law. Today, we ask you to join the effort to convince lawmakers in New Jersey to do the same.
Despite efforts by state and federal lawmakers to manage sex offenders, challenges to preventing sexual crimes against children remain. One of the most formidable issues is a high recidivism rate, which means that sex offenders are likely to repeat their crime. This is why mandatory sentences are so important when it comes to protecting children from known child sex offenders, and is critical for two reasons: first, they are effective in keeping sex offenders off the streets and away from our children; second, they can serve as a deterrent to sex offenders who may otherwise recommit an offense.
Consider Jessica’s story, the law’s namesake. John Couey, a registered sex offender, abducted nine year-old Jessica from her Homosassa, Florida, home on the night of February 23, 2005, and repeatedly sexually assaulted her before stuffing her into garbage bags and burying her alive in a shallow grave behind his home.
Couey’s prior criminal record included twenty-four arrests, two of which were sexual assault of a minor. In each instance, Couey served less than five years in jail.
At the time of Jessica’s murder, Couey was a registered sex offender in Florida. Unbeknownst to local law enforcement, he moved from the registered address and was living across the street from Jessica’s home. Up until three months before Jessica’s murder, Couey was being monitored by GPS which showed that while being tracked had not committed another crime. Once the monitoring device was removed, however, Couey abducted, raped and murdered Jessica.
A judge sentenced John Couey to death in 2007, but had extended mandatory sentences been in place, Jessica may still be alive today.
Please sign the petition today and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Together we can call on New Jersey to protect our children by enacting Jessica’s Law and enforcing tougher penalties on convicted child sex offenders.