Newsletter - April 2011


Stop Child Predators
Advisory Board

Mark Lunsford
Chairman

Joanna Acocella
Vice President of Federal Relations at Apollo Group, Inc.

Meryl Chertoff
Legislative relations professional, attorney and community volunteer

Viet Dinh
Georgetown University Professor of Law and former Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at U.S. Department of Justice

Timothy Hughes
Senior Inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service

Brian Jones
Senior Counsel at Dow Lohnes

Joseph Kakaty
Chief Marketing Officer for College Loan Corporation

Roderick R. Paige, Ed.D.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education
(2001-2005)

Executive Team

Cary Katz
Chairman

Stacie Rumenap
President

John Falb
Treasurer & Member of the Board

Amy Thienel
Communications Director

Table of Contents

President's Message
This month, Stop Child Predators released a new national survey that found that Americans overwhelmingly support mandatory sentencing for violent sex offenders who assault children under the age of 13. Read all about the survey by Mason-Dixon polling and why these results are so important in our fight to keep kids safe. You'll also read in this issue about Mark Lunsford and Rosemarie D'Alessandro joining together to urge New Jersey legislators to adopt Jessica's Law. Finally, SCP addresses cyberbullying this month and cues you into the new efforts by the White House to keep kids safe online. Read full message
> Read More

77% Favor Mandatory Prison Sentences and GPS Monitoring For Sexual Predators Targeting Children
77% Favor Mandatory Prison Sentences and GPS Monitoring For Sexual Predators Targeting Children It comes as no surprise that seventy-seven percent of surveyed American adults say that sex offenders who prey on children should serve 25 years to life for a first offense, and be electronically monitored upon release. Both of these are conditions of a Jessica's Law, currently passed in forty-four states.
> Read More

Victim's Families Lobby NJ Lawmakers to Create Tougher Penalties for Child Sexual Assaults
Stop Child Predators President Stacie Rumenap was joined by Mark Lunsford, Rosemarie D'Alessandro and other victims, child advocates and activists in New Jersey in March to meet with lawmakers and local media in an effort to urge lawmakers to pass "Jessica's Law," a bill named after nine-year old Jessica Lunsford who was brutally raped and murdered in Florida in 2005 by a twice convicted sex offender.
> Read More

Victim's Father Lobbies NJ Lawmakers to Create Tougher Penalties for Child Sex Assaults
By David Levinsky for phillyBurbs.com TRENTON- It was six years ago that a twice-convicted sex offender kidnapped, molested and murdered Mark Lunsford's 9-year-old daughter, Jessica. Since then, 44 states have passed so-called "Jessica laws" that create tougher penalties and restrictions for those convicted of child sexual assaults. But New Jersey isn't one of those state,s a fact that baffles Lunsford, child safety advocates and some lawmakers.
> Read More

President and Mrs. Obama Take on Cyberbullying
National attention was focused on cyberbullying last month when President and Mrs. Obama hosted their first Conference of Bullying Prevention aimed at addressing the serious and sometimes lethal problem of cyberbullying. The conference announce the release of the Administration's new website targeting bullying prevention: StopBullying.gov.
> Read More

President's Message

This month, Stop Child Predators releases a new national survey that found, not surprisingly, 77% of Americans say child sex offenders should serve 25 years to life in prison and be electronically monitored for life for committing a sexual assault against children who are 13 years of age or younger, according to the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey.

Read on to hear about how we are working to translate this support into child safety legislation, specifically in New Jersey where we joined victims' families, child advocates and so many others at a press conference to encourage passage of a measure that would impose mandatory 25-year prison sentences on anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 and would impose a sentence of up to 3-years for anyone caught harboring a sex offender.

You'll read about Mark Lunsford and Rosemarie D'Alessandro joining together to encourage New Jersey legislators to adopt "Jessica's Law," named for Mark's daughter. Jessica was nine-years old when she was abducted, raped and murdered in Florida in 2005 by a twice convicted sex offender. Rosemarie is all too familiar with the horror. Her seven-year old daughter, Joan, was raped and slain in 1973 by a Hillsdale, New Jersey neighbor while she delivered Girl Scout cookies. Joan's Joy is dedicated in her memory.

Major thanks goes to New Jersey Family Policy Council for coordinating the press conference and for always taking our calls. Thanks also to Team Joan supporters and the other advocates who braved the snow to make their voices heard. Another very special thank you goes to members of Nixmary Brown Soldiers for making signs showing their support for Jessica's Law. Nixmary Brown Soldiers formed in the wake of seven-year old Nixmary's brutal murder by her mother and step-father in New York in 2006. This group is also gathering support for a petition pushing for a national Nixzmary Brown Law that would require life in prison without parole for a first offense of killing or violently molesting a child.

Jessica's Law is being spearheaded by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Senators Diane Allen and Tom Kean who are urging their colleagues to increase the penalties for convicted sex offenders. Over 60 legislators, including Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, are supportive of the initiative which was first introduced in the New Jersey legislature in 2005.

Finally, SCP tackles cyberbullying this month. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FourSquare, Tumblr, the list of social networking sites that connect people is constantly growing. Along with all the benefits of the expansion of technology into our daily lives, there are risks, like bullying, which has been linked to a slew of recent teen suicides. Read on to hear about efforts by the White House to prevent furuther tragedies.

The survey was conducted February 22-23, 2011 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. One thousand registered voters were interviewed nationally by telephone. The margin of sampling error is no more than plus or minus 3.2 percent. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the country.

As always, please check us out on Facebook and Twitter to find the most up-to-date content in your state.

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter as much as we enjoy sharing our successes with you. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me anytime at srumenap@stopchildpredators.org.

Sincerely,


Stacie Rumenap

77% Favor Mandatory Prison Sentences and GPS Monitoring for Sexual Predators Targeting Children

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Americans say sex offenders who prey on children should serve 25 years to life in prison and be electronically monitored for life for committing a sexual assault against children who are 13 years of age or younger, according to a new national survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. Just 15% oppose such penalties. Another 8% aren't sure.

"Each year, thousands of children fall prey to sexual offenders so it's not surprising that Americans overwhelmingly favor tougher sentences as called for in "Jessica's Law" which is now the standard in 44 states. Americans are tired of reading about another abducted or murdered child at the hands of a repeat sex offender. They're ready for tough sanctions against those who sexually assault our children," said Stacie Rumenap, president of Stop Child Predators.

When asked about sex offenders serving 25-year prison sentences for committing a sexual assault against a child 13 years of age and younger, 71% agree. Just 17% disagree, and 12% are undecided.

Similarly, 83% of adults agree that as a condition of release from prison, sex offenders should be permanently monitored by electronic devices. Nine percent (9%) disagree, and 8% are undecided.

Men (87%) believe more strongly than women (73%) that sex offenders should serve prison sentences of 25 years to life and face lifetime monitoring restrictions for the sexual assault on a child 13 years of age and younger.

The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year old girl who was abducted, raped, and murdered in Florida in 2005 by a twice-convicted sex offender. The law requires mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years to life and lifetime electronic monitoring for convicted sex offenders.

The survey was conducted February 22-23, 2011 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. One thousand registered voters were interviewed nationally by telephone. The margin of sampling error is no more than plus or minus 3.2 percent. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the country.

Contact Stacie Rumenap at info@stopchildpredators.org for the full survey information or with other questions regarding the survey.



Victim's families lobby NJ lawmakers to create tougher penalties for child sexual assaults

Stop Child Predators President Stacie Rumenap was joined by Mark Lunsford, Rosemarie D'Alessandro and other victims, child advocates and activists in New Jersey in March to meet with lawmakers and local media in an effort to urge lawmakers to pass "Jessica's Law," a bill named after nine-year old Jessica Lunsford who was brutally raped and murdered in Florida in 2005 by a twice convicted sex offender.

The measure, named after Mark's daugther, would impose mandatory 25-year prison sentences on anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13. It also calls for three-year sentences for anyone caught harboring a sex offender. The effort is being spearheaded by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Senators Diane Allen and Tom Kean. Over 60 legislators, including Speaker of the Assembly Sheila Oliver and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, have signed onto different measures to enact the bill which was first introduced in the New Jersey legislature in 2005.

Senator Allen says the bill is much more likely to be successful this year. "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 told the press at a recent news conference organized by the New Jersey Family Policy Council, a key ally in the effort to pass Jessica's Law. "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.

Rosemarie D'Alessandro, whose 7-year-old daughter, Joan, was raped and slain in 1973 by a Hillsdale neighbor, also spoke in favor of the measure.

"You want these (sex offenders) in prison, and that's where they should stay. . We don't want any more Jessicas and no more Joans," said D'Alessandro.

Supporters of the measure, including "Nixzmary Brown Soldiers" braved the snow to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to pass tougher penalties for child sexual assault. Rose Lapsley-Morrisroe founded Nixzmary Brown's Soldiers to push for better child protection laws in the wake of the brutal death of the 7-year-old namesake at the hands of her mother and step-father in New York in 2006.

Assemblywoman Nellie Poe, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, is sympathetic to victims who asked for her support. "Of course the heartfelt thoughts of Mr. Lunsford and other parents will most certainly be remembered as legislative consideration of this bill continues," she said.

Jessica's Law passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and awaits approval by the Apropriations Committee before going to a vote on the Assembly floor and moving to the state Senate. The bill would require the signature of Govenor Chris Christie in order to become law. Governor Christie has signaled he supports the legislation.

Forty-four states have passed Jessica's Law. But the fact that New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Idaho, Colorado and Hawaii have not baffles supporters who are determined to return to Trenton to add New Jersey to the win column.



President and Mrs. Obama Take on Cyberbullying

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FourSquare, Tumblr, the list of social networking sites that connect people is constantly growing. Along with all the benefits of the expansion of technology into our daily lives, there are also risks, like bullying, that have become evident on a tragic and national scale, especially as bullying has been linked to a slew of recent teen suicides.

National attention was focused on cyberbullying last month when President and Mrs. Obama hosted their first Conference on Bullying Prevention aimed at addressing the serious and sometimes lethal problem of cyberbullying. The conference announced the release of the Administration's new website targeting bullying prevention that offers advice and resources to those dealing with the issue. StopBullying.gov is a multifaceted approach, offering solutions to teachers, parents, lawmakers, teens and victims of bullying. The website also has tools geared for the gay teen community, considering 8 in 10 gay teens report being verbally harassed, and 1 in 5 reported being physically assaulted at school according to the 2009 School Climate Survey.

This follows closely on the heels of a study released by the National Cyber Security Alliance, in partnership with Microsoft, that found the majority of K-12 teachers are not addressing cyberbullying or online hate speech in their classrooms. The study found that just over a quarter of teachers surveyed had discussed ways to address the dangers of cyberbullying.




For more information concerning the initiatives in your state, or if you would like Stop Child Predators' assistance in drafting, testifying for, or supporting legislation in your state, please visit our website at http://www.stopchildpredators.org and/or call us at (202) 234-0090.