In 2006, the South Carolina State Senate passed legislation that made repeat child rapists eligible for the death penalty. A similar Louisiana law let prosecutors seek the death penalty for rapists of children younger than 12.
However, on June 25, 2008, both were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in a narrow 5-4 decision. To the dismay of many, the court declared such laws unconstitutional because it violated the Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause.
Child molesters are, without question, the vilest of human beings. They live in nearly every community, and lurk among innocent children.
They are often people you would least expect them to be. Teachers, counselors, mentors, and even parents of other children are just a few of their daily disguises. However, no matter who they are, they are dangerous to the young victims they prey on and a stigma on our society.
According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there are 23 registered sex offenders currently living in the Ozone Park/Howard Beach area. While not all of these criminals were convicted for sexually exploiting innocent children, every one of them was found guilty of committing a heinous crime and forced to register with the state after incarceration.
Opponents of capital punishment for repeated sex offenders claim that because they haven’t killed anyone, the death penalty is unwarranted. However, countless victims who have never recovered from their incidents beg to differ. For these tormented souls, being raped as a child was just as bad as being murdered. Their suffering is never ending and their innocence robbed forever.
Imposing the death penalty on perverts who rape children might have prevented some of New York’s most disturbing cases. Take for instance seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown who was eventually killed at the abusive hands of her mother’s boyfriend Cesar Rodriguez. In her short time on earth, Nixzmary Brown was just a little girl, but to her mother’s lover, she was an object of sexual pleasure and a human punching bag.
It’s hard to imagine that such a vicious abuser will one day walk the streets again because there is no death penalty on the books. People like Cesar Rodriguez do not have a rightful place in this world. They are truly sick individuals who pose a serious threat to our families and our everyday way of life. The only way to stop them is to show them that we are serious when it comes to protecting children.
Life without parole for child rapists is simply unacceptable. Taxpaying citizens should not be forced to put food in the mouths of people who enjoy sexually molesting defenseless children. Instead, protect our precious little ones. No child should ever be robbed of his/her innocence. After all, they are the ones who are innocent, not their abusers.
The Supreme Court set an unfortunate precedent. Instead of allowing the criminal justice system to protect and serve the innocent, they gave the most despicable perpetrators an undeserved second chance.
Eric Ulrich is Republican District Leader for 23rd Assembly District which covers part of Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Board Channel and most of the Rockaways.