Governor, Attorney General Urge House Committee To Keep Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Worst Sexual Predators in Child Protection Act

From The Office of Governor John Lynch

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch and Attorney General Kelly Ayotte today urged the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to keep mandatory minimum sentences for the worst sexual predators in the Child Protection Act.

The mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years would apply to predators who sexually assault children under the age of 13 or cause permanent brain injury to children under the age of 13.

"Those predators who sexually assault children are among the most dangerous criminal offenders in New Hampshire. These offenders target the most vulnerable segment of our society - young children who are unable to protect themselves," Gov. Lynch and Attorney General Ayotte wrote the committee.

"Under current law, such an offender can be sentenced to a maximum of 10-20 years imprisonment, rarely imposed by our courts. For these offenders, we strongly believe that current law fails to provide adequate protection to the public," they wrote.

A subcommittee of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has been working on the legislation for the past several months. The full committee is scheduled to take up debate on the legislation, HB 1692, today.

"The sentencing provisions of HB 1692 were carefully drafted to balance the need for discretion in the sentencing of offenders with the need to protect the public against the most serious offenders who target vulnerable children," Gov. Lynch and Attorney General Ayotte wrote.