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How Many More Children Need To Die?

| December 28, 2009, 10:39 AM | 5 Comments

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 Mike..is 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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Category: Crime News, NEWS, POLITICAL NEWS

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Comments (5)

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  1. Magister says:

    What needs to be concentrated on in your article is the need to follow the law. If the law had been followed in many of the child rape and murder cases that we have had in the last 10 years, many would not have happened. So what is the point of passing MORE laws, stricter laws, when the ones we already had were not being followed? We need to get rid of the low risk, no risk offenders on our registries so that our law enforcement can properly monitor the ones who are high risk.
    Each sex offender case is very different and we need judges and prosecutors who are educated enough to handle those differences.
    In fact, you have NO idea how that little girl felt about having her father back home with her. One of the reasons sex offenses are not reported is that the child may want “daddy” to stop what he is doing but does not want “daddy” to be taken away. Harsher laws would only compound that problem. Did you know that incest offenders have the lowest re offense rate of all offenders??? It is about 1%. This is a very complicated issue and we need to listen to the professionals and NOT to politicians who only have VOTES to gain.

  2. JWF says:

    You have some valid points and you are correct that I am unaware of how the girl felt. However, I do know the prosecutor in this case and he or she was livid that Manck agreed to return the adult to the home in such short time. There were some family issues–the mom was aware of the abuse for some time and never reported it and tried to protect the father. The abuse was discovered (if I recall) from a casual conversation between kids overheard by a concerned neighbor.

    But absolutely, the current laws need to be upheld and the judges really need to be qualified. I am not sure if you are in AA County or not, but the ones here are notorious for leniency. There was a drug dealer selling drugs from his Severna Park gas station who was given a slap on the wrist. A guy who robbed the police station and impersonated an officer was gicen $20 and told to go to Baltimore and saty out of Annapolis. What is going on here?

  3. Magister says:

    the kind of leniency you are talking about is crazy! Are these elected judges? If so, they need to know that they can and will be voted out if they continue to use such terrible judgement. The power of an educated public is awesome.
    As for the girl, it sounds like many steps in the process were missed. The Childrens service should have evaluated the mother and the home situation.
    It sounds like the mother needs some serious parenting classes. The father should have been in treatment and only allowed to go home if the child was in agreement and a safety plan had been worked out with the mom, dad, child, social worker with Childrens services and the treatment provider.
    ONLY after all were satisfied about the childs wants and safety should the father have been returned.
    This is an important process and the only way to ensure the childs best interests and safety.
    I can’t say enough that the mom needs help too. She showed very bad judgement in the past and there seems to be nothing that has changed. She will probably show bad judgement in the future regarding this child and not just about the dad.

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