Source: Trenton Times (letter-to-editor by Nancy F. Munoz) -
New Jersey now joins 45 other states in enacting some form of the Jessica Lunsford Act, which is named for the 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005.
New Jersey law now ensures that convicted sexual predators will be kept off of our streets and behind bars for a very long time, as it imposes a mandatory prison term of 25 years to life without possibility of parole for at least 25 years for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13.
The road to implementing the act was lengthy and difficult, as we had to overcome both political roadblocks and policy snags. In fact, the process began in 2005, when my late husband, Assemblyman Dr. Eric Muñoz, first introduced the legislation after meeting with Jessica’s father, Mark Lunsford. Following my husband’s untimely death, I was honored to pick up the mantle and honor his commitment to make certain the act became law.
The effort has been well worth it, because, like Eric, I am confident it will save lives and help prevent other families from having to bear the pain and suffering Jessica’s father, Mark, endures to this day.
Sexual assault against a child deserves the strongest possible response by the justice system. On behalf of Mr. Lunsford, Eric and my legislative colleagues who helped in this effort, I am proud to say that is now a reality in New Jersey.
Nancy F. Muñoz
The writer, a Republican, represents the 21st District in the New Jersey General Assembly.