Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
The State Senate approved bipartisan legislation today known as the “Jessica Lunsford Act” which increases the criminal penalties on those who commit sex crimes against minors. Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, is the prime sponsor of the legislation.
“I am grateful to all those who support the effort to increase the penalties on pedophiles who prey on society’s most vulnerable and innocent victims – our children,” said Muñoz. “Such a heinous act inflicts tremendous damage on their physical, psychological and emotional state. It takes a toll on their families and loved ones as well. This law sends a message of how much we value young people and that such despicable behavior will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”
The bill, A-892/S-215, establishes a sentence of between 25 years and life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. The bill also establishes a period of parole ineligibility of at least 25 years for a person convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old. In addition, if a victim is unable to testify at trial, a prosecutor would be permitted to negotiate a plea agreement for a prison term of at least 15 years without parole.
Muñoz’ Assembly colleagues, Jerry Green, Mary Pat Angelini and Alison McHose are the other primary sponsors of the legislation as well as 45 additional co-sponsors in the Assembly.
The bill now goes to Gov. Christie for his consideration.