Act In Response To Increase In Luring Cases
TRENTON – Legislation authored by Senator Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) and Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) that would set tougher penalties for attempted child abductions gained the approval of a Senate committee on Thursday. The senators acted in response to an increase in reported “child luring” in New Jersey.
“The abduction of a child is one of the most horrendous crimes that can be committed and protecting our children is one of the most sacred responsibilities we have,” said Senator Codey. “Tougher penalties will send a clear message to pedophiles and to anyone else who would harm or attempt to abduct a child that they will be dealt with severely. Now, if you lure, you go to jail.”
A series of child luring cases were reported in New Jersey late last year, including many in Bergen County as well as the horrific murder of a 12-year-old southern New Jersey girl. As a result, at least two Bergen County towns imposed 8 p.m. curfews for children under age 18 on Oct. 30, known as Mischief Night, and on Oct. 31, Halloween night.
“These incidents were warning signs that alerted us to do everything we can to keep our children safe and secure in our communities,” said Senator Gordon. “We won’t tolerate any threat to young people and we won’t allow anyone who would exploit their vulnerabilities to avoid justice. They will go to jail so they can’t harm children or anyone else.”
The bill would increase penalties for convictions of luring, making the penalty for a first offense a five to 10 year sentence with mandatory time served in prison. Current law allows judges discretion in sentencing a first-time offender to a prison term. Additionally, under Megan’s Law convicted sex offenders are required to register each year with the municipality in which they live. The bill would provide that offenders are provided documentation notifying them of the penalties for certain crimes against children, including luring, and of any other requirements of Megan’s Law that may apply.
The bill, S-2323, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.