A day after police found the body of an 11-year-old Maryland girl they say was kidnapped by a registered sex offender, activists were pointing to the case as evidence of the state’s inadequate child protection laws, the Baltimore Sun reports. Jerry Norton, who heads Citizens for Jessica’s Law in Maryland, said, “We need to make it clear to citizens of Maryland that we are not going to let these pedophiles molest our children with just a slap on the wrist. We’re tired of these watered-down sentences.”
On Christmas Day, police found the body of Sarah Haley Foxwell, after a search by some 3,000 people. Police say the girl had been taken from her bedroom Tuesday night by a registered sex offender, Thomas James Leggs Jr., who has been held since Wednesday. Leggs briefly dated the girl’s aunt, who had custody of her and her two siblings. Leggs, 30, is listed as a child sex offender in the Maryland Sex Offender Registry because of a third-degree sex offense conviction in 1998. In Delaware, he is listed as a “high-risk” sex offender in connection with the rape of a minor in 2001. Maryland State Sen. Nancy Jacobs said Leggs should have been considered “high risk” in Maryland also.