Jessica's Law Passes in Texas

By Tracee Sioux

Two big things have happened to protect children from sexual abuse perpetrators, especially repeat offenders.

The State of Texas has passed The Jessica Lunsford Act. Each state has its own version of “Jessica’s Law” before legislatures. The law requirements are a little different in each state depending on how strict or lenient the current laws are. The goal, as a nation, is to get state laws to be uniformly strict in dealing with sexual predators so they can not continue to victimize children from state to state without penalty.

Jessica’s Law includes:

• 25 year minimum sentence for sexually violent offenses against children under 14 years of age.
• Eliminates eligibility for parole for certain sex offenders.
• Makes a second conviction for a sexually violent crime against a child a capitol felony (as in the death penalty).
• Allows children to report the crime for 20 years past his or her 18th birthday.

This is good news for our kids. They deserve to not be sitting ducks waiting for some pervert to victimize them.

To send the message to your own state legislatures telling them they must pass a version of the Jessica Law. These letters make all the difference in the world. Though they might not read every letter word for word, they do make a tally of how many letters they receive about this issue and vote accordingly.

Oprah has a letter for each state’s representatives that you can quickly use in a couple of minutes. You can write each of your representatives in very little time, but with big results for our kids. Click Here.

Last year the Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act passed, which notably required the first Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry. It is up and running here.

This is important to you and your children because now by clicking on a single link you can see who, in your neighborhood or school, has been convicted of at least one sex crime. Also, this is the first time ever law enforcement has had this type of tool to track sex offenders from state to state.

It is disturbing to put your zip code or address in and see that only two houses or streets down lives someone who has molested a 6-year-old. But, it has become the reality for America. You can input names of people, like the soccer coach, teachers, Sunday school teacher or anyone else with authority in your child’s life, in the system to see if they have ever been convicted. It’s also handy to check whether a sex offender lives next door to a house you are considering buying.

I sat with my 5-year-old and looked at the sex offenders’ pictures in our neighborhood and gave her instructions to never speak to these men and to always tell me if she sees them.

I was no more explicit than these are very bad men, which I felt was age-appropriate. As your children get older you may want to provide more information. Obviously, we’ve spent time on good touching and bad touching in regards to family members, baby sitters, friends, coaches and teachers.

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