Jessica's law

By: Ruth Baker Email
By: Ruth Baker Email

SHERMAN, Tex. -- New laws will mean convicted sex offenders could face stiffer sentences. In Texas--Jessica’s law goes into effect next week. It's named after a 9-year-old that was brutally raped and killed in Florida back in 2005.

John Couey was convicted for brutally raping and killing nine-year old Jessica Lunsford in 2005. Friday a judge sentenced Couey to death, but many other sexual offenders receive lighter sentences. Those who know children victimized say the punishment should fit the crime

"It's just awful thing to happen to a child it could damage them for life I’ve had it happen to my nephews so I know what it can do to a child," says Tammy Hernandez, who says some of her family members have been sexually assaulted.

Across the country, 31 states now have enacted some form of Jessica’s law which helps protect children from sexual predators. The Texas version of the law will go into effect September 1.

The law states sexually violent offenders that prey on children under 14 will receive a minimum of 25 years in prison...
Hernandez says the time isn’t enough, punishing the child more than the offender.

Grayson county investigator Catherine Craig says there are offenders who have committed multiple acts against children. With Jessica’s law second time offenders will be looking at a capital felony.

"We have approximately 65 registered sex offenders. I don't know the number but a good deal of them deal with victims less than 14 years of age," Craig says.

Currently most Grayson County offenders do not see 25 years in jail, serving less strict sentences, Craig says.

Oklahoma state lawmakers are also working on stiffer penalities for convicted sexual offenders. Currently there is no minimum sentence for child sex offenders.


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