Jessica’s Law refers to the “Jessica Lunsford Act” that was originally passed in the State of Florida following the abduction, sexual assault, and eventual brutal murder of a young girl. Following the murder, Florida passed Jessica’s Law in 2005 which mandates a minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and a maximum of life for first-time child sex offenders. Since the passage of the original “Jessica’s Law” a number of other states have followed suit with similar legislation.
Kansas enacted its version of Jessica’s Law in 2006 which requires first-time child sex offenders who have been convicted of certain offenses to spend a mandatory 25 years in prison if the victim was under the age of 14 and the offender over the age of 18 at the time of the offense. If an accused has a previous qualifying conviction, the law requires a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years in prison. Offenses that qualify include:
- Rape, as defined by K.S.A. 21-5503
- Aggravated indecent liberties with a child
- Aggravated criminal sodomy
- Promoting prostitution when the prostitute is under 14 years old
- Sexual exploitation of a child when the child is under 14 years old
- Criminal solicitation, as defined by K.S.A. 21-5301; and any
- Attempts or conspiracies to perpetrate such crimes.
As of 2016, the State of Missouri has not yet passed a version of “Jessica’s Law.”