TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The father of a Florida rape and murder victim, whose death led 44 states to enact stricter sex offender laws, was in New Jersey on Monday to encourage passage of a law imposing mandatory minimum sentences on child predators and anyone convicted of aiding them.

(AP Photo/Lunsford Family, File)

Mark Lunsford is pushing for enactment of the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” which would impose a mandatory 25-year term without parole for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting a child younger than 13. Anyone who hinders their apprehension or prosecution would face three years behind bars.

“There is no reason for anyone to put their hands on these children and to receive minimum sentences and probation — it’s hard time, 25 years,” Lunsford said. “These are our children, our youngest children, and we have to do more to protect them.”

New Jersey’s bill and similar legislation across the country is named for Lunsford’s 9-year-old daughter, who was, kidnapped raped and buried alive in Florida in 2005 by a convicted sex offender. Jessica’s laws are intended to reduce a sex offender’s ability to re-offend.

The Assembly sponsor, Republican Nancy Munoz of Summit, said 54 colleagues have signed onto the bill. The legislation, first introduced in 2005, awaits a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Republican Diane Allen of Burlington. The bill has yet to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Both houses of the Legislature would have to pass the bill and it would have to be signed by Gov. Chris Christie in order to become law.

“It just is amazing to me that we haven’t passed this law. Our children are not as safe as the children in most other states,” Allen said. “I worry if we don’t get it done this year, how many children are we going to lose? I don’t know but even one is too many.”

Allen said those who commit sex crimes against children are far more likely than other offenders to commit a similar crime again. She said 40 percent are charged with a similar crime within a year of being released.

Rosemarie D’Alessandro of Hillsdale, whose 7-year-old daughter, Joan, was raped and murdered by a neighbor while delivering Girl Scout cookies in 1973, has teamed up with Lunsford to advocate for the harsher sentencing law.

“Mark and I are trying to make something good out of something so horrible that our minds can’t even go there,” she said. “What we’re doing is keeping our children alive in every way possible — their energy goes on, their legacy goes on in helping people and helping society.”

Lunsford’s daughter was killed by twice-convicted sex offender John Evander Couey, who died of natural causes while awaiting execution. D’Alessandro’s daughter was killed by former chemistry teacher Joseph McGowan, who remains in prison in part because of the compelling testimony of the victim’s mother, who has been heard at each of McGowan’s parole hearings.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (43)
  1. Chuck says:

    His daughters death was tragic, however he had child porn on his computer and never was convicted, his son molested a girl under the legal age and was never tried, so why dont the laws apply to Mr. Lundsford ?

  2. k weeks says:

    We need to put all these people on an island by themselves and let them pray on each other

    1. Andy says:

      yea well say goodbye to your family members cause thats who your referring to

  3. Devenio says:

    How is this law going to stop these predators for attacking children? Laws do not stop crime. Justice stops crime. Like hanging these people by the very thing they use to rape and hurt children with. Hand enough of them by the balls on the court house steps and I beat you see a dramatic drop in these type crimes.

    1. Devenio says:

      That should be HANG enough of them! LOL.

  4. Ronnie says:

    Lunsford was 26 years old when he got Jessicas 16 year old mom pregnant…Doesnt that make him a sex offender? Lets see you idiots answer this one

  5. Ronnie says:

    you people amaze me… Your children are being molested by family members and friends,,, grandpa and uncles and yes even women molest children. The boogeyman you people feel the need to have the police protect you from is about 6% of all sex crimes. Politicians are playing you like a violin. People like John Walsh are making millions of $ off of these scare tactics and creating hysteria. Im not saying go easy on anyone who molest a child but if a father molest his daughter and now has the families address posted on a website… what does it do to that daughter who has to endure the neighborhood or school posting it for all to see?

    1. sadie sadie says:

      Ronnie what are you trying to say that we shouldnt push for harder laws on sex offenders. I get your saying most of these cases are done by people close to the child but I think that this man is saying his little girl was raped and buried alive by a two time offender. Maybe if the fist offence got him 25 years this little girl wouldnt have had to endure what she endured.

  6. suzy says:

    TALL TREE and short rope will do the job

  7. DM says:

    Oh don’t punish the poor child predators! The are just victims of society!

    They were probably bullied when they were children and are simply acting out due to years of being treated as a social outcast.

    We should pity them and try to understand them. In fact, maybe they should be elected to Congress! They’d fit right in in Washington!

  8. Diane says:

    No mercy for people who rape children. Lock them up, and when they get to prison put them in the yard with a big sign on their backs.

    1. Devenio says:

      Same thing for White collar criminals. Corporations that poison the environment, every single politician that ever lives, the entire republican party and the democrats as well, the nutter teabaggers,etc…

      1. Ronnie says:

        So we should just believe what you believe in I guess.. Are you a socialist?

  9. DH says:

    Jane, where the hell did you get your statistics? Made them up to help support your opinion. Do any of you really know a sex offender? Most likely not! The term sex offender runs the gamut from Romeo and Juliette sex offenders who are just kids that got caught doing what milliions of other kids do in their teen years. Do you realized there is a 9-year old kid registering due to Megan’s Law. Yes, repeat sex offenders, and especially those who take a life do need to be dealt with harshly, perhaps even with the death penalty. But in today’s society there are over 400,000 sex offender registers that are living their lives in our communities, trying to rebuild their lives too. Chances are, the ones that you have to worry about most is the friend or neighbor, or brother, or uncle, oh, and don’t forget sister, or aunt.

  10. Glenn says:

    I feel for this man in that he lost his daughter, but he evidently is on drugs.

    1. Ronnie says:

      Lunsford was 26 years old when he got Jessicas 16 year old mom pregnant…Doesnt that make him a sex offender? Lets see you idiots answer this one

  11. True Patriot says:

    Until we can be 100% sure that NO ONE who is innocent is convicted, this proposed law should NOT be passed. And by the way, I’ve heard that there are many women/girls out there that are ruining men’s lives by LYING to the police by claiming that they were raped! And the thing is that the cops are stupid enough to believe them – without PROVING the mens’ guilt! Until technology gets MUCH better, we should make it harder to arrest suspected rapists so that no innocent man goes to prison.

    1. paul says:

      You’re an idiot.

    2. Hail3igh says:

      Make it harder to arrest them?? What are you insane? So let them walk around and do it to someone else.Do you have any idea what its like to be sexually assulted? Didn’t think so.It strips you of all dignity and ruins you for life. It is not something you just get over with a little visit to the head doctor. Its there every day of your life.It keeps you awake at night because you are affraid to sleep because you relive it ever night. Anyone who thinks the way you do is just as sick as the offenders are. How do you look at yourself in the mirror? I bet you are one of the people who also think that women ask for it. You are all big and tough behind that screen name. You a very sick and discusting excuse of a person True Patriot!!!

    3. stacy says:

      Are you serious? She was a child…. She didn’t lie or claim to be raped..she was raped multiple times and buried alive….left to die in a hole in the ground…Whose life was ruined?… He was a multiple offender.. a convicted sexual offender… honestly, you simply amaze me with your lack of sense

  12. nj says:

    treatment my foot , lock them up and throw away the keys there are way better things that that money could be spent on like helping the victims ,who these pervs hurt . HELLO

    1. bob says:

      they should have a direct trip to death row ,no appeals no 2nd chances too bad , you get rid of them , stop waiting 20yrs , be like 100 yrs ago get convicted yo die the next day .prison has been made into a free rent, free meal hotel for some of these losers, start killing them off like they did to their victims and ull see how fast the fear of prision returns

  13. jane says:

    They should get the death sentence. They can’t be rehabilitated (with sex offenders this has been statistically shown) and I don’t think the general population should have to pay for them for life (we get taxed enough already!)

  14. Tom says:

    Let the victim’s father have 5 minutes and a locked door. There won’t be any need for jail time after that. May God bless that little girl and her family.

    1. Ron says:

      your an idiot do your research before you open your piehole

    2. Ron says:

      what happens if the father gets his but kicked?

      1. DM says:

        What research are you referring to? I hope yoiu are making a case for rehabilitation.

  15. nj says:

    anyone who does that to a child let alone anyone if convicted they should be castrated and then shot and killed like they took someones life and get away with it life in prison is all about free food and free rent , they gave up all rights to anything when they hurt or kill a child , let them dig their own graves them line them up in front of it and shot them and then bury them if they dont die from being shot then they sure as hell will from being burried right away. ,laws need to be changed and now not later

  16. sawnetbean says:

    There is a reason these guys are called “serial” offenders. They should get life in prison without parole.

  17. LB says:

    You cannot cure or treat a pervert.


    who ever does that evil act should go life sentence for doing such it,why cant that person get marry is not for God i could say that the person who are in that evil act should be killed also for what he did,but if the person repent then forgive that very person please and let God judge the person if he have change and promise not to do such act again,FORGIVE AND YOU TOO SHALL BE FOR GIVING TOO


    1. nj says:

      micheal you need to get a live if you can forgive someone that does such an eveil act them maybe you should be in jail too. and then you will see what these perverts are all about

    2. Devenio says:

      Michael is not a prophet.

  19. Poko says:

    I know this may sound inhumane, but anyone that freaking rapes, let alone rapes a minor… and then kills them… Should be killed. They will do it again, no matter what! Or chop their freaking tool off… It is ridiculous what people can get away with in this Country…. and then they are free 4 years later to go do it again.

    1. HARELM GOING H.A.M. says:


  20. Liza says:

    All sex offenders should be mandatorialy castrated and their whereabouts always monitored closely. The ones who kill should be filmed as they are castrated so others know what is in store for them. Where ever he lives, his neighbors should know where he is exactly all the time.
    There are too many motherly women who want to protect these people, have them be 100% responsible for these men’s actions.

    1. MJ says:

      and what would you do if it turns out an innocent person was wrongly convicted ( yes i know that NEVER happens)….. say OOPS !

      1. unknown says:

        with all the forensics etc today ,that is becoming a bigger and bigger unlikelyhood of that happening…soooo if you get them and can/have prove it..get rid of they say good riddance to bad garbage.

      2. TM says:

        Maybe this has happened to someone you know but it is truly a rare event.

  21. marc ma says:

    I agree with Mr Lunsford, no mercy for preds. Lock them all up for life, or put them down like a sick animal. These people don’t deserve to be a part of our society.

  22. BF says:

    I hope NJ Has the sense enough to pass this law. That would put about 10% of NJ Residents in jail for life. And for your information, most all sex offenders are not murderers so why do you create a law that profiles a case that very rarely ever happens. We need to protect our society from sexual abuse in such a way that it actually reduces the number of offenses and not spend money on locking up every sexual offender and having no money for treatment and education regarding the insane laws we have created.

    1. JoBCCan says:

      Even the pedofile will tell you, there’s NO rehabing them.

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