This Op-Ed by Nicole Malliotakis originally appeared in the Brooklyn Reporter

Most would agree that a crime committed against a minor is among the lowest of the low. And when such a crime involves a sexual attack, it almost shocks the conscience.

Frighteningly, a significant amount of sexual predators are repeat offenders. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that within three years following their release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders were subsequently arrested for another sex crime. This means that roughly one out of every 19 sexual predators released from incarceration will prey on at least one more innocent victim.And this only accounts for those who’ve been caught.

We experienced a sobering example of this right here in southwest Brooklyn, where a teenage boy was abducted from the 53rdStreet train station and forcibly raped.

The suspect was convicted of an eerily similar act in 1999 and has been linked to another sexual attack less than three years ago,also at the 53rd Street station. With their disproportionate threat of recidivism, sexual predators must be subjected to more aggressive penalties to reduce the occurrence of tragedies like this.

In early October, I announced that I would partner with State Senator Marty Golden to introduce legislation that will increase the penalties for predators who attempt to lure or entice a child by various means.

The bill would enhance penalties for those who solicit youths for criminal activity or sexual encounters by using a vehicle,meeting in a secluded area, or through social media.

The legislation would increase the penalty to a class D felony when a person over the age of 18 is found guilty of attempting to lure or entice a child under the age of 17 into a vehicle, building or other isolated area for the purposes of committing a criminal offense. Current law charges those who endanger the welfare of a child in such instances with a class A misdemeanor.

The increased penalty would also apply to those who lure or harass knowingly, someone under the age of 17, by means of computer communication in order to solicit a sexual encounter or to commit a criminal offense with or against. Current law does not specifically address the harassment of a child via computer.

This legislation would help minimize such unconscionable acts against the more vulnerable members of our community, and I intend to work closely with my colleagues to see it become law. We must ensure sexual predators stay behind bars, out of our community, and away from our children.