The New York State Senate today passed a comprehensive plan, cosponsored by Senator Lanza, that would enact aggressive measures to protect children from the dangers posed by Internet predators, child pornography and child sexual abuse.
The "Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Act of 2008" (S.6747) is based upon recommendations made in a report released by the Senate Majority Task Force on Critical Choices entitled, "Protecting Children in the Internet Age."
The report highlights the strong link between child pornography possessors and individuals who sexually victimize children. In fact, a recent study found that fifty-five percent of those arrested for child pornography possession have sexually abused or tried to sexually abuse children. Because of this strong correlation – and because the conviction rate for child pornography possession is nearly 100 percent – the report emphasizes the importance of cracking down on child pornography as a critical part of any overall strategy to keep children safe from sexual offenses.
This comprehensive legislation will:
> Toughen penalties for promoting child prostitution;
> Increase penalties for producing child pornography;
> Provide enhanced penalties where a sex crime against a child has been committed using a computer or computer service;
> Increase the penalty for persons who permit their premises to be used for child prostitution;
> Allow the admission of business records into evidence in child pornography grand jury proceedings via affidavit;
> Allow a "non-judicial" subpoena to be issued by a district attorney or the Attorney General for child pornography via the internet; and
> Require local social services districts, when possible, to establish safe houses for sexually abused children.
The bill comes amid a dramatic expansion of networking and video sharing sites such as MySpace.com and YouTube.com, which present additional challenges to parents seeking to monitor their children's activities on the Internet.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.