Guest Commentary: The Time is Now for Jessica’s Law

January 23, 2013

McNULTY: The time is now to pass mandatory minimum sentences for predators who sexually assault children

Evil knows too many forms.  I cannot imagine a harsher form of Evil than a father betraying his own daughter.  It made me sick when I read that Jason LaRosa will walk on charges of sexual assault of a child and aggravated incest.  LaRosa was convicted for performing oral sex on his 2 ½ year old daughter at a swim club.

Sex crimes against children are the most difficult crimes to discuss.  The words seem so vile as the facts are described…even as we push to exact punishment for these sick, sick deviants.

I don’t know what is going to happen to Jason LaRosa.  Surely there is an appropriate place in the deepest of Hell for people like him.  But what should we do to protect children from these pedophile predators?

It’s been five years since I first introduced Jessica’s Law with then state Senator Josh Penry.  I haven’t introduced it since my first term, but others have, over this time, introduced it.

It is one of those issues that is emotionally draining.  Amendments have been run and lost.  The votes haven’t been there to protect children from sex assaults.  The only result is this.  We’re not doing enough to protect our children from these violent predators.  The predators who not only commit the crime, but steal a childhood from their innocent victims.

Jessica’s Law wouldn’t have saved LaRosa’s daughter and Jessica’s Law wouldn’t have kept LaRosa behind bars in light of the recent ruling.  But Jessica’s Law would save others.  Jessica’s Law would prevent future child victims and save childhoods from being devastated and lost.

Pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated, they cannot be repaired.  When I carried the bill in 2007 I received letter after letter, flier after flier from some group formed to protect child predators from legislative accountability.  I don’t even remember the name of the group as I write this.  A group designed to ensure that these deviants remained on our streets.  Stalking our children.  These types of criminals cannot be healed.  They are, and will always be, a threat.  It is the imprint of their sick nature.

Making sure that these criminals do long time the first time they commit their heinous felony is the most effective way of preventing future victims.  There is no good news for those who argue in favor of treating pedophiles.  According to the July 2010 Harvard Medical School Harvard Mental Health Letter, “there is no cure [for pedophilia], so the focus is on protecting children.”

Bingo.  There is no cure, and recidivism rates are high.  Our focus must be on protecting the children.

The following is from the same Harvard Medical School publication:

“One review found recidivism rates of 10% to 50% among pedophiles previously convicted of sexual abuse, although this could include anything from an arrest for any offense to reconviction on a crime against a child.”

Some child welfare outlets report recidivism rates as high as 90 percent.  Either way, the only effective option for protection children against child predators is to put them behind bars for a very, very long time.  The more mandatory time they spend in prison, the fewer children they can sexually assault.

I remember when I offered a revised version of Jessica’s Law as a floor amendment to another bill.  I read the sex crimes listed in the amendment where the pedophile would receive a mandatory minimum sentence.  I looked first into the gallery to make sure that there were no school groups there.  They didn’t need to hear the crimes I was about to list.  I didn’t need to hear the crimes I was about to read.  The gallery was empty.  I read the crimes.  Closed my notebook.  Walked away from the well.  Sat down, and watched my amendment die.

Between then and now, there is no doubt that predators have victimized more children who would have been saved if the bill, or even the amendment, had passed.  But neither happened.  We haven’t had the votes to pass it, but we might have them now.

The time is now to pass mandatory minimum sentences for those predators who sexually assault children.  The time is now to prevent future victims.  The time is now to enact Jessica’s Law.  We can’t outlaw Evil – we can keep it from preying on our children.

Rep. Frank McNulty was Speaker of the Colorado House for the 68th General Assembly.  He represents Highlands Ranch, Colorado

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One Response to Guest Commentary: The Time is Now for Jessica’s Law

  1. Rachelle
    January 25, 2013 at 6:19 am

    I agree with your article. I am 42 years old but at the mere age of two molested by a family friend. He was not only molesting me but he was molesting his two sons and daughter. I remembered this at around the age of 10. Started having dreams in which I told my mother. She confirmed it was not a dream. This so called family friend was having me perform oral sex at two years old. How sick is that?! My mother never went to authorities and neither did his wife. The wife eventually did leave him but he was never punished for his crimes against me or his children. I can imagine he has done it again and again to some other child. I think not only the molester but the mothers in this situation should be punished. One my mother did not pursue legal action because he threatened to reveal she was a child abuser. The other mother was just ignorant.


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