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Advocates Say Maryland Needs Tougher Child Protection Laws

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By Elliott Francis

Child advocates and lawmakers say the death of an 11-year-old girl allegedly abducted from her Maryland home, highlights the need for tougher penalties for sex offenders.

The man charged in that case, 30-year-old Thomas Leggs Jr., is listed on the Maryland and Delaware sex offender registries. In fact, the Delaware registry describes him as ''high risk.''

Jerry Norton, head of 'Citizens for Jessica's Law' in Maryland, tells the Baltimore Sun, this event is clear evidence that child protection laws in the state need to be tougher.

Meanwhile, Maryland state delegate Mike Smigiel expressed frustration over the case. He says he's considering everything from cracking down on plea bargains for defendants like Thomas Leggs, and crafting laws which would allow the wiretapping of convicted sex offenders in Maryland.

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