Father Of Raped and Murdered Girl Speaks To Law Enforcement - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/18/08-Tyler

Father Of Raped and Murdered Girl Speaks To Law Enforcement

She was just nine years old when she was kidnapped from her home, raped and then buried alive. Jessica Lunsford of Florida died three years ago at the hands of a repeat sex offender. Friday, KLTV 7's Tracy Watler talked with Jessica's father, who was in East Texas on a crusade to keep sex offenders away from your family.

Before a packed conference room of law enforcement and civil rights advocates, Mark Lunsford told his story--a story, he calls "a parent's worst nightmare."

"I didn't spend my life raising kids so that somebody could one of them away," he says.

But his daughter, nine-year-old Jessica, was taken away, abducted from home, sexually assaulted and murdered by convicted sex offender John Couey.

"The problem that we have in the United States with sexual predators and offenders is actually it's insulting to all the people that these kind of crimes could go so lightly punished," Mark explains.

That anger, Mark says, is what fuels him. He now travels the nation raising awareness and fighting for tougher laws, including "Jessica's Law."

"My crusade is mandatory sentencing, 25 years to life. If you sexually abuse a child or you molest a child, I firmly believe you don't have a right in society," he says.

Now all he hopes is that his story, his nightmare will make a difference.

"She was just like the little girl that you would change the world for, plus ten," he says describing his daughter, Jessica..

And he hope you at home will care, too.

"The child you save could be your own."

In Texas, "Jessica's Law" went into effect September 1, 2007, now including the death penalty as a form of punishment for repeat sex offenders.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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