Saland And Paulin Legislation Needed To Protect Children From Sexually Graphic Communication

Stephen M. Saland

July 28, 2006

A case that was the basis for the drafting of legislation to protect children from sexually explicit images and words was dismissed in a Westchester Court this week because of a loophole that exists in the current law. The legislation, crafted by Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D – Scarsdale), would prohibit the depiction of sexually graphic material to minors either in written or graphic form. (S.7133B). The bill was passed in the Senate, but stalled in the Assembly.

"This legislation addresses the court's decision, which, unfortunately held that the use of sexually explicit language by the defendent, as distinguished from sexually graphic images, did not constitute the crime of disseminating indecent material to minors," said Senator Saland. "Today's reversal of the original judgment in this pedophile case indicates an immediate need to close the loophole that exists in the current law."

"Predators do terrible harm to children through communicating sexually explicit images," said Assemblywoman Paulin. "Tragically, investigators and prosecutors can cite numerous examples of minors who have been exposed to pedophiliac behavior on the computer. When a young child is subjected to graphically written solicitations and descriptions of sexual acts while online, such exposure is often more frightening than if the victim were sent an image. I look forward to working together with Senator Saland to see this bill signed into law."

"An offender who violates the law with words or images should be prosecuted for the crime of disseminating indecent material to minors," continued Senator Saland. "Given the significant volume of child exploitation and abuse stemming from computer usage, this bill is necessary to effectively prosecute criminals who seek to circumvent the intent of the law to include those who describe, in words or images, material which is harmful to a minor."

Saland noted that it was certainly not the intent of the law to give rise to a loophole for those preying on children when they communicate indecent material in words and not just images. "This legislation will underscore that there is no distinction between the sexually explicit words or images conveyed by a pedophile to a child. Most importantly, it will provide additional protection for our most vulnerable citizens -- our children," he concluded.