"There are few things on this earth that are more despicable and heinous than an adult sexually abusing a child," says Assembly democratic Leader Lou Greenwald.

"As legislators and as parents, it is our duty to address the problem of children being sexually abused by updating New Jersey's laws to expand prevention and toughen both civil and criminal penalties for offenders." Greenwald is sponsoring the Child Protection Act of 2012 and other legislation aimed at protecting New Jersey's children from sexual abuse.

The three bills provide updates to state laws to address the problem of sexual abuse of children in New Jersey through a combination of prevention, training, and tougher penalties.

The Child Protection Act of 2012 significantly expands statutes of limitations for and categories of persons who are liable in civil actions against an alleged abuser and also takes significant steps to strengthen prevention--increasing requirements for criminal background checks for those in regular contact with children and requiring additional training programs for school employees and volunteers on how to spot signs that a child may have been sexually abused.

Greenwald is also sponsoring a bill to increase the fixed minimum sentence for repeat offenders committing sexual abuse from five to eight years in prison and another measure that sharply increases criminal fines that persons convicted of sex offenses under Megan's Law must pay upon conviction.

"When it comes to cracking down on the sexual abuse of children, it's clear that a comprehensive approach is needed, and that is precisely the approach my legislation delivers," says Greenwald. "In enacting these needed measures, we will send an unmistakable signal that New Jersey will stand strongly against child abusers and those who knowingly permit such deplorable acts to take place."

The bills will be referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.