YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: On the 15th anniversary of the passage of Joan’s Law, Assemblyman Bob Schroeder reaffirmed his commitment to amending the measure so that it would mandate life in prison for anyone who kills a sex crime victim under 18 years old, instead of the current 14.
N.J. State Assemblyman Bob Schroeder, Rosemarie D’Alessandro
Joan’s Law was enacted after the 1973 rape and murder of Joan D’Alessandro, a 7-year-old Hillsdale girl, at the hands of a neighbor she’d gone to sell cookies to. It stipulates that anyone convicted of murdering a child under the age of 14 during a sex crime must be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Schroeder, R-Bergen and Passaic, introduced his amendment in January.
“Forty-four percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18, and girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault,” said Schroeder, who has been working closely with Joan’s mother, Rosemarie, to strengthen the penalties against predators and child killers.
“Amending the age provision to this law will help protect young women who are targeted by sexual predators,” he said. “It also sends a message to these types of deviants that there is no second chance for preying on a minor.”
Even before becoming an assemblyman, Schroeder has worked to raise awareness of victims’ rights through the founding of what has become known as Keep New Jersey Safe ( www.keepnjsafe.org ).
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