Sex offenders face tougher penalties in New Jersey

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(Photo: Thinkstock)

judge-gavel-court-justice-genericsNY

(Photo: Thinkstock)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sex offenders who prey on young children in New Jersey will face a tougher set of penalties now that the state’s Gov. Chris Christie is set to sign a new law Monday.

The signing of the “Jessica Lunsford Act” would impose a mandatory 25-year term without parole for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting a child younger than 13.

Prosecutors would be permitted to negotiate a shorter sentence if it’s in the best interest of the victim.

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.