Mark Lunsford Urges Tougher Maryland Laws for Sex Offenders

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Mark Lunsford Urges Tougher Maryland Laws for Sex Offenders

Post by Justice4all on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:28 pm

Father of Sex Offender Victim Urges Tougher Maryland Laws
posted 03/16/10 5:45 pm producer: Markham Evans

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The father of a Florida girl who was killed by a convicted sex offender is urging Maryland residents to call for changes to state laws.

Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year-old daughter Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, raped and murdered five years ago by a convicted sex offender in Florida, said Marylanders need to ensure state policies protect their children from repeat sex offenders.

"Jessie was my baby," Lunsford testified Tuesday before lawmakers. "That's all I had in this life."

Her killer, convicted sex offender John Couey, confessed and was sentenced to death. Jessica's death has fueled Lunsford's drive to toughen punishments for child sex offenders. He appealed to a state Senate committee in Annapolis Tuesday, advocating for bills raising the sentence from five years for second-degree rape to a mandatory minimum twenty years. He also supported a measure to eliminate good behavior credits for child sex offenders.

According to Lunsford, his daughter had seen coverage of the death of another girl, Carly Bruscha, on TV in Florida. He recalls her saying, "'I hope that never happens to me.'"

"We are very naive," Lunsford concluded.

The bills' sponsor says Maryland coddles these criminals.

"I believe Texas and Florida get it," said state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, the Senate Minority Whip. She points to the Dec. 23 abduction and murder of Sarah Foxwell of Salisbury. A convicted sex offender was indicted on murder charges earlier this month.

Mark Lunsford said parents cannot be complacent with their kids.

"A pedophile could be anyone between a crackhead and a congressman," Lunsford warned. Don't be afraid to tell {your children} too much. Be afraid you didn't tell them enough."

Lunsford has traveled the country with a child advocacy group calling on states to pass stricter penalties for sex crimes against children. Many states have approved such bills and called them "Jessica's Law," named for Lunsford's daughter.

The group Citizens for Jessica's Law says as of last month, there were almost 6,500 registered sex offenders in Maryland. More than 65 percent of them are child sex offenders.

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Re: Mark Lunsford Urges Tougher Maryland Laws for Sex Offenders

Post by Piper on Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:39 pm

I respect and applaud Mark Lunsford for what he's doing. His drive to push changes in the laws on releasing these offenders early will help save the lives of many other children. His baby suffered so, I can't imagine his pain. I'm glad he's able to turn that anguish and anger into something positive. The tape of Carlie Brucia's abduction by Joseph Smith was played over and over on all of the local news channels in south Florida. My sisters told me it was constant and became unbearable to watch, as they passed Evie's Carwash everyday. So I'm sure little Jessica saw that abduction many times. God bless little Jessica and Carlie. Sad

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