How many more times is this going to happen?

Stricter sex offender laws remain a challenge
December 28, 2009 - 5:14pm

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

DOVER, Del. - Thomas Leggs Jr., the 30-year-old man charged with kidnapping a Maryland girl whose body was found on Christmas Day, is a registered sex offender in two states: Maryland and Delaware.

His record as a sex offender dates back to 1998 and includes the rape of a minor in Delaware in 2001. He is currently being held without bond for the kidnapping of 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell of Wicomico County. Her body was found near the Delaware line.

There are plenty of questions, including why laws against child sex offenders aren’t tougher.

Md. State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican from Carroll County, says despite a 25-year mandatory minimum for people who commit first degree sex offenses involving children, there’s a loophole.

“The loophole is they get ‘dimunition credits,’ which are considered good-time credits for good behavior in jail. So, truth in sentencing? Twenty five years is not 25 five years for these guys – it’s 17 years.”

Jacobs says that has been a source of frustration. She worked to get that mandatory minimum under “Jessica’s Law” in place in the state. And she’s been pushing hard to get those “diminution credits” removed, so that “25 years means 25 years.”

But Jacobs says that remains a problem.

“Because judges don’t like to give mandatory minimum sentences – they want discretion.”

She also wants to toughen the laws against sex offenders in the case of a third-degree sex offense. Right now, a five-year mandatory minimum can be reduced to around three years with ‘good time’ credit.

"And a good part of the problem, as I see it, are the judges. They’re not giving these child rapists enough time in jail. It’s criminal as far as I’m concerned. These guys should be put away and locked up forever.

“They should not be seeing the light of day.”

Jacobs says another barrier is the state’s $2 billion budget shortfall.

“Right now? They’d rather build roads than prisons.”

Still, she sees the Foxwell case as underscoring the need to toughen laws related to sex offenders. The Maryland General Assembly session gets underway next month.

(Copyright 2009 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Wow - zero responses…I guess I’ll reply to my own post. For anyone who cares, please join me in doing something about this ongoing problem. Please write to your state legislators immediately and ask for tougher sentences for predators. This means no time off for “good behavior”, no bonding out, and mandatory 25 year sentences when a crime is committed against a child.

As Catholics, we are called to protect the vulnerable. Please help! If everyone wrote just one letter or sent one e-mail, we could be a powerful voice for children. Please do something before one more life is lost!

Until the scourge of liberal legislators and liberal judges passes, showing mercy to the evil will only mean that the system remains merciless to the innocent.

I am not sure that today’s Christian will be of much help here, frankly. The message of mercy for the evil is too strongly embedded in the modern Christian message. Best then, that you receive no replies. Any reference to the destruction of innocent and the good are often just answered with retorts that we are all sinners deserving of death anyways.

So sad. I am not sure why there is not an automatic life sentance for adults who sexually abuse or harm children. We know the stats...they rarely do it only once. We need to wake up and stand between evil and the innocent as a society.

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