Flanked by beaming and sweating congressman and with America's Most Wanted host John Walsh by his side, President George W. Bush Thursday signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
The bill is a sweeping crackdown on child sexual abuse. It toughens penalties for abusers, including online predators, creates a registery of offenders to be shared with authorities and the public, and even requires TV producers to keep track of the ages of the actors and actresses in simulated sex scenes, though that is far less onerous than an original version of that amendment that would have made them subject to tougher reporting requirements, labeling, and criminal penalties.
Bush hugged Walsh and praised him for his tireless advocacy for children's rights and protection, which has been, in part, driven by the molestation and murder of his son, Adam, for whom the bill was named. Bush also praised the the Amber alert system-co-created by broadcasters--which became a federal program under the President's watch.
On hand for the Rose Garden signing ceremony were families of some of the fortunate children who have been recovered--Elizabeth Smart was there with her father--and those less fortunat, like Walsh, whose pain the President said he felt and shared.