New law can only help

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It is disturbing to realize a Chilton County resident engaged in behavior that would violate child sex laws and result in a 40-year prison sentence.

But it is comforting to know the individual was arrested and will be locked up, that law enforcement officials are working to keep off our streets the kind of people that would harm our children, and that lawmakers are doing their part in keeping the most vulnerable of us safe.

Local resident Jerry Alan Penton on Friday became the first person to be tried and convicted under the anti-grooming law, a provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. “Grooming” refers to the practice of using child pornography to break down a child’s defenses to illegal sexual contact. “It’s anything someone can do to kind of normalize [sexual] behavior for a child,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Stump said.

This new law is a welcome addition to those already on the books because the law is another way to prosecute those that would harm children-maybe even stop them before they can harm children.