Taking Alabama Back from Sexual Predators!
It’s important to have laws. The right laws, good laws, strong laws that will make a difference. That’s why, when I was Attorney General, we rewrote Alabama’s sex offender laws and made them the toughest sex offender laws in the country. People said, “You’ll never get that through. Children don’t have lobbyists. Children don’t make campaign contributions. Children don’t go to the Capitol. You will never get this bill passed.” But we did!
It’s not just important that we have laws though. Maybe more important, is that we use the laws we have. For example, we had a child pornography law in Alabama that made it a crime to take a child’s innocence away with a camera, but having a law that says you should not do it does not stop anybody from doing anything. So we took the law and we used it. We indicted a man who had a computer set up next to his little girl’s bed where he was running a child pornography ring out of her bedroom. We convicted him and sentenced him to 115 life sentences plus 1,960 years on top of that. Somebody stopped me after this made the news and asked me, “Wouldn’t you have made the point just as well with ten indictments?” The answer is: No! Every child in Alabama is precious. Every child has the right, if you steal their innocence with a camera, to have their day in court. So no, it was not enough to just indict five or ten as a sample. Because to do that would require us to say, “This child should have their day in court, but this other child should not because we are just making a point.” We were not making a point, my friends, we were making an example.
So 115 life sentences and 1,960 years later, sex offenders are on notice that Alabama is not the place to come and peddle their smut. This is not the place to come and hurt our children. Every child deserves their own day in court. So the message was important. The message was: “if you come to peddle smut in Alabama, we’ve got a severe sentence waiting for you. We’ve got a tough law and we are prepared to use it to protect the children of this state.” Only when we do that can we make clear to those who peddle smut— Not in our state. Not our children. Not now. Not ever. Then, and only then, can we Take Alabama Back from predators.