TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey has become the 46th state to enact a law toughening penalties for sex offenders who prey on children.
Gov. Chris Christie signed the law known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” which imposes mandatory 25-year terms without parole for anyone convicted of assaulting a child younger than 13.
Prosecutors would be permitted to negotiate a 15-year sentence to keep some victims from having to testify.
The bill is named after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a convicted sex offender in 2005. Similar laws around the country are intended to keep child sex offenders locked up longer to reduce their ability to re-offend.
The girl’s father, Mark Lunsford, has pushed hard for such laws.
He flew to Trenton to attend Monday’s bill signing.
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