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Man gets heavy sentence for first sex crime

A man who turned himself in to police for performing a sex act on an infant has received a harsh sentence under one of the strictest sex crime laws in the nation. The man, age 25, pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sodomy of a child, according to local news reports.

The man, who did not have a criminal record before the incident, was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the case. The man will not be eligible for parole until he has served 25 years of his prison term, according to authorities. He had admitted to performing oral sodomy on a 4-month-old girl.

The sentence is notably harsh, according to experts, because it falls under the purview of a state statute called Jessica's Law. That statute requires life sentences for certain sex crimes involving children younger than 14 years of age.

Family members of the victim showed little leniency toward the man as the sentence was handed down. The girl's grandfather reportedly yelled insults at the man during the sentencing hearing, and the infant's mother said she agreed with the life sentence. This opinion was vocally expressed despite the convict's plea for leniency and expressions of remorse.

Kansas has among the most stringent sentencing guidelines for people committing sex crimes against kids. While neighboring states' statutes allow for probation in first-offense cases, Kansas mandates the life sentences, ostensibly to protect local citizens from convicts. The man in this case will not only serve the 25 years' minimum prison time, but he will also be identified as a sex offender and remain under state supervision for the remainder of his life.

The convict's mother said her son should be commended for surrendering to police in connection with the incident. The man had reportedly confessed the crime to his pastor, who urgently advised him to contact law enforcement officers to formally admit to the violation.

Source: The Wichita Eagle, "Kansas man gets life sentence for sex act on baby," The Associated Press, Oct. 21, 2012.

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