Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, raped, and buried alive by a repeat child molester. She later died.

The Tim Gill-sponsored Democratic legislature today sent a clear message when they voted down mandatory minimum sentencing for child rapists, otherwise known as “Jessica’s Law”. The party line vote showed that Democrats cared more about playing politics than they did about protecting innocent children from child rapists.

Colorado is one of just six states that has not yet enacted Jessica’s Law, which would classify child molestation on a person under the age of 12 as a life felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.  The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old girl from Florida, who was kidnapped, brutally raped, and murdered (she was buried alive) in 2005 by repeat child molester John Couey.

The House Democrats in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed the bill despite hearing from Lunsford’s father, Mark Lunsford, today.  During his testimony, Lunsford told the committee, “I don’t understand how many names you have to hear and how many children have to die before it really sinks in.”

Republican Representative Libby Szabo also highlighted the sobering statistics around this heartbreaking issue:

“Mandatory sentencing to protect children from pedophiles should be a ‘no brainer.’  Forty percent of released sexual offenders perpetrate a new crime within a year of being released, and the majority of the children they molest are kids under 13.”

Tim Gill’s hand-picked legislature voted no.  His family must be so proud that his legislature killed a bill to protect innocent children throughout our state.  Finally, the “no” vote also sends a message to child predators – Colorado welcomes you.