Thank you for bringing the well-written, and deeply sad story of Chelsea King's death to the public's attention. Many readers are outraged over the minimum sentences child sex offenders receive.
People in Illinois need to understand that sentencing ranges on sex offense felonies are as low as six, four, three, two and one year, and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposes enhancements. The group asked offenders if longer prison sentences would deter them from committing the crime and they answered, "no."
However, longer prison sentences will serve as a deterrent by preventing other children from becoming their next victims. Victims don't have a voice in Springfield because the rape advocacy coalition in Illinois speaks for the offenders.
A hearing on House Bill 4764 is set for Thursday, March 11, in Springfield. We are facing tough opposition This is a critical time for supporters of longer sentences for child sex offenders to have their voices heard.
Readers should visit momsv.org to sign an online petition and contact the Judiciary II Committee members with their support. Illinois only has this one opportunity at strengthening our laws to protect children from sex offenders and enforce crime victims' rights. It may be our last real chance at passing, effective, enforceable and meaningful legislation to prevent sexual violence against children.
Founder, Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence