March 19, 2006

Protecting children: The idea is to strengthen the law

The Union Leader

WHEN IT COMES to getting tough on child molesters, who would have thought that legislators would get cold feet?

Last week, members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee gutted the Child Protection Act by removing the billís cornerstone punishment for child sex offenders.

Currently, the maximum sentence for first offense aggravated felonious sexual assault against a child is 10 to 20 years. Offenders, however, can be let off with no prison time. Child abusers seldom serve the sorts of long sentences most people would consider just punishment for molesting children.

The Child Protection Act originally mandated that judges impose a minimum 25-year sentence if prosecutors sought it. The billís authors refrained from setting a mandatory 25-year minimum across the board because prosecutors said that would harm their ability to win convictions in some cases.

Posted by kshaw at March 19, 2006 07:21 AM