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The Child Safety Act of 2005  

By Matthew C. Keegan

 

Please Note: Since the time that I wrote this article, the "act" was passed and signed into law by the president. However, significant needs to be done to continue to protect our children on a state-by-state basis. You only need to follow news reports to see that too many legal loopholes remain in place.

 

Important legislation has been introduced which, if passed, would go a long way toward protecting our nation's children from sexual predators. The proposed The Child Safety Act of 2005 would increase criminal penalties against convicted child molesters as well as close loopholes in laws that allow predators to roam free. Let's take a look at the pending legislation and how you can play an important part in seeing that it becomes law.

 

HR 3132, also known as The Child Safety Act of 2005, was introduced by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, on July 26th as a response to several high profile crimes involving children. Each crime committed involved the kidnapping, sexual exploitation, and murder of the victims by predators including these three cases:

  • David Onstott, 36, has been charged with first-degree murder of 13 year old Sarah Lunde. Law enforcement officials say that Onstott, a registered sex offender, confessed to breaking in to the home of the teen and choking her to death. Her body was found one week later in an abandoned fishing pond near her home.

     

  • John Evander Couey, 46, has been charged with capital murder, burglary, kidnapping, and sexual battery on a child under the age of 12, as a result of breaking into Jessica Lunsford's home while she was sleeping. Couey reportedly confessed to repeatedly raping the child and then buried her alive in the backyard of his home located in Jessica's neighborhood.

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  • Joseph Edward Duncan III, 42, has been charged with the murder of four individuals from one family as well as the kidnapping and rape of two children. Duncan stalked the Groene family home for several days before overpowering and killing three family members and kidnapping the two youngest children. One of the children, Dylan Groene, was later murdered while his sister, Shasta, was rescued.


In all three cases the perpetrators all had a criminal history -- often extensive -- and were able to allude the law by failing to register as sex offenders. The Child Safety Act of 2005 will include the following provisions as outlined in the press conference handout distributed by congressional aides:

  • Improves Sex Offender Registration and Notification Program to ensure that sex offenders register, and keep current, where they reside, work and attend school

     

  • Improves verification systems for sex offender information by requiring monthly verification, sex offender in-person verification every six months, and regular notarized verification mailings

     

  • Requires States to have a uniform, public access sex offender registration website

     

  • Creates Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website to search for sex offender information in each community

     

  • Expands sex offenders to include juvenile sex offenders

     

  • Requires States to notify each other when sex offender moves from one State to another

     

  • Expands sex offenses covered by registration and notification requirements to include military, tribal, foreign, sex crimes, and increases duration of registration requirements to protect the public

     

  • Expands community notification requirements to include active efforts to inform law enforcement agencies, schools, public housing, social service agencies and volunteer organizations in area where sex offender resides, works or attends school

     

  • Creates new criminal penalty of mandatory minimum of 5 years to maximum of 20 years for sex offender who fails to comply with registration requirements

     

  • Expands law enforcement use of DNA to solve sex crimes

     

  • Prevents and deters violent crimes against children and sexual exploitation of children

     

  • Protects foster children from sexual abuse and exploitation

     

  • Increases criminal penalties against child sexual predators

So, what part can you play in protecting our children? Contact your two U.S. Senators as well as your House Representative and ask them to support the bill. Kindly, but firmly, stress that our children must be protected against repeat sexual offenders and that HR 3132 -- The Child Safety Act of 2005 -- should be passed as one way to help keep our children safe.

 

Too many of our kids fall prey to sexual predators. You can have a part in tightening loopholes that allow these monsters to roam free. Our children deserve nothing less.


Author Information:

 

Matt Keegan is The Article Writer who writes on a variety of social, human interest, as well as business related topics. Please visit his blog for writing information.