May 26, 2024
Annapolis, US 83 F

How Many More Children Need To Die?

Child Protection Laws Must Be Enhanced

This undated picture provided on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009 by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services shows Thomas J. Leggs Jr. of Salisbury, Md. The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office has charged Leggs, a registered sex offender, in the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl who is still missing. (AP Photo/Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services)

A 12 year old girl’s body was discovered on Christmas Day. She died at the hands of a man who is a twice convicted sexual predator. There is certainly a lot of blame to be placed, but the first finger needs to be pointed at the ridiculous liberal judicial system we have in place in Maryland.

Sarah Haley Foxwell was staying with aunt (her guardian) who knowingly dated Thomas James Leggs, Jr., 30–a twice convicted sexual predator.  Sarah was abducted from her home by Leggs who knew of a key kept under the pot on the front porch. She was seen by her younger brother leaving with “Tommy”. And the following morning, she was discovered missing.

Leggs was convicted of a third degree sex offense in Maryland in 1998. He was convicted for the rape of a minor in 2001 in our neighboring state, Delaware. Delaware’s registry labels him as “high risk”.

What is wrong with the judges who sentence these people? If he is considered a “high risk” for the rape of a minor, why is he out on the streets? Especially when you consider the recidivism rate amongst pedophiles? How much did his past record in Maryland impact his sentence in Delaware? Did they know?

Cecil County Delegate Mike Smigiel, was quoted in the Baltimore Sun, “We have very strict laws in Maryland, but I think more has to be done. These child predators are incorrigible. We have to find ways to deal with this threat to our community.”

Hello anyone home? Maybe the judges in Cecil County are a bit more stringent, but here in Anne Arundel, one runs the risk of jail time for jaywalking, yet minimal (if any) for murder or rape.  To his credit, Delegate Smigiel has pre-introduced three bills to tighten up the legislation. He is said to be “seething” about this case.

The time for “seething” is over. Our children need to be protected–period. And it does not just extend to sexual predators.  The two boys who murdered Christopher Jones will be free in a few years.  What will ultimately happen with John Walter Jennings, or David Benjamin Raszewski or Jameson Bryan Knott?

In 2007, Judge Manck sentenced a man who had sexually assaulted his own daughter to 4 months in jail. And then allowed him to be confined at home (yes, the one where his daughter lives) and to go to work daily. Does anyone feel that this man’s daughter received the justice she deserved? What are the chances that this man will be before a judge again?

It needs to stop. Hopefully Delegate Smigiel’s legislation will have some teeth in it and it will be supported unconditionally by each and every elected representative! These sentences must stop. The judges need to understand that their job is to hold criminals accountable to the full extent of the law.

Of course parental responsibility is also a factor and it is reprehensible for her aunt/guardian to have dated this convicted felon and given him access to Sarah as well as her younger brother.

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