Bill closes loophole after Court of Appeals ruling that it is not a crime

           The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.7407),
    co-sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (Staten Island), that would make the
    viewing of child pornography a felony crime. The bill amends current state
    law to say that a person is guilty of a crime when the person knowingly
    accesses child pornography with the intent to view.

           The legislation comes after a state Court of Appeals ruling earlier
    this month that said viewing child pornography on the Internet is not a
    crime. This legislation closes that loophole.

         “Today we have approved legislation to enable more appropriate
    prosecution of individuals who view child pornography here in New York
    State,” said Senator Lanza. “Federal regulations are already in place, and
    today, we are one step closer to having New York adopt these same policies.
    I introduced this bill because I believe that simply the fact that an
    individual is viewing child pornography is a crime and New York should
    treat it as such.”

           “This legislation sends a strong message that watching child
    pornography for any reason is completely unacceptable,” said Senate
    Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos. “I commend my colleagues for acting on this
    quickly and, in doing so, we’re conforming to federal guidelines. We must
    always work to protect children and work to keep them from being exploited
    in one of the worst ways.”

           Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals dismissed two of 143
    possession and promotion counts against James Kent, a former Marist College
    professor who was convicted in 2009. Kent argued that he had reviewed the
    images as part of a research project on how child porn is regulated. The
    court decided that to be guilty of possession a person must print, download
    or save computer files.

           The bill has been sent to the Assembly.