Congress and the President are to be applauded for their swift action in passing the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a bill that calls for more stringent measures to combat the sexual predation of children which was signed into law by President Bush on July 27. The law is named for Adam Walsh, the six-year old boy who was abducted and eventually killed 25 years ago.
This law marks a very important step in protecting our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — our children. The law strengthens existing federal laws aimed at protecting children from sexual and other violent crimes, as well as helps prevent child pornography, child prostitution, and sex trafficking of children, and makes the Internet a safer place for everyone who uses it.
This legislation creates a national sex offender registry designed to close gaps in existing state systems and community notification requirements. It also allows for tough mandatory minimum penalties imposed for the most serious crimes against children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are more than 550,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Of those, they note about 100,000 are not registered or have not provided updated information to their registrations.
And according to the most recent available data from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average sentence imposed on child sexual predators released in 1994 was seven years, while the average predator was released after serving only three. This occurs, even though the same study shows sexual predators are four times more likely than other criminals to be arrested again for a sex crime.
Just last year, John Couey — a registered sex offender with previous arrests for sexual assault and fondling a child under the age of 16 — abducted, molested, and buried alive nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Florida. In Idaho, Joseph Duncan — another registered sex offender, twice-convicted and twice-released — kidnapped and molested eight-year-old Sasha Groene, after molesting and murdering her brother Dylan and killing the rest of the family. Both Couey and Duncan could have been prevented, had there been more stringent jail penalties and strictly monitored registration requirements.
Stop Child Predators congratulates our Nation’s leaders for protecting children from danger by enacting such a comprehensive law that will help efficiently fight against sexual predators. This sends a clear message to predators that should they try and exploit our children, law enforcement will have the necessary tools to catch predators, prosecute predators, and ultimately prevent predators from victimizing anyone again.