Christie signs sex offender bill into law - New York News

Christie signs sex offender bill into law

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- In this undated family photo provided by the Citrus County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department, Jessica Marie Lunsford is shown.  . (AP Photo/Citrus County Sheriff's Dept., File) - In this undated family photo provided by the Citrus County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department, Jessica Marie Lunsford is shown. . (AP Photo/Citrus County Sheriff's Dept., File)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey has become the 46th state to enact a law toughening penalties for sex offenders who prey on children.

Gov. Chris Christie signed the law known as the "Jessica Lunsford Act," which imposes mandatory 25-year terms without parole for anyone convicted of assaulting a child younger than 13.

Prosecutors would be permitted to negotiate a 15-year sentence to keep some victims from having to testify.

The bill is named after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a convicted sex offender in 2005. Similar laws around the country are intended to keep child sex offenders locked up longer to reduce their ability to re-offend.

The girl's father, Mark Lunsford, has pushed hard for such laws.

He flew to Trenton to attend Monday's bill signing.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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