A panel discussion entitled "The Jessica Lunsford Act: Protecting our Children from Sex Offenders"will be held on Thursday, November 16, at 12:45 p.m. in the Dan Rodden Theatre.
A La Salle University student is launching a campus-wide effort to build support for proposed legislation that would require mandatory minimum sentences for convicted sex offenders.
Brian Arty, a junior communication major, wants the Pennsylvania legislature to approve the Jessica Lunsford Act, named after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a man who had been convicted of previous sex crimes. The act, which has already been passed or looks to be passed by 40 states, would require a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for those crimes committed against children 11 and under. If/when the criminal is released from prison, he/she must wear a GPS tracking device so that they cannot come within 2000 feet of where children learn or play. If they do a message via cell phone will immediately be sent to authorities.
Arty will deliver a keynote address, in favor of the act. A three-member panel made up of Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Pennsylvania State Rep. (and La Salle Alumnus) Dennis O'Brien, and La Salle Security and Safety Director Art Grover, who is a retired captain of the Philadelphia Police Department and also is a La Salle Alumnus, will then hold a question and answer session with the audience following the speech.
The event is being sponsored by La Salle's chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fratnernity, and the Programming Center, on behalf of the Division of Student Affairs.
Arty, who is minoring in American studies, said he became interested in the issue after hearing Jessica's story on the news from February 2005 to April 2005. Arty said that college students can play an important role in pressing state legislators to bring the law to the House and Senate floor to be voted on. Arty also said that he hoped the effort wouldn't stop at La Salle but would spread to other campuses as well.