Senator Saland Introduces Legislation To Strengthen Penalties Against Child Sex Offenders

Stephen M. Saland

April 26, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie), today announced that he has introduced legislation that would impose stricter penalties on Internet pedophiles (S. 7352) and adults who sexually abuse children in their care (S.7353).

"Tragically, research shows that approximately 90 percent of children who are sexually abused are victimized by adults who are known to them most often over a long period of time," said Saland. "Children who are abused sustain deep, lifelong emotional and psychological scars that are difficult to recover from, especially when the abuse is repeated or is inflicted by a person in a position of trust or authority. We must make sure that perpetrators are not given the ability to return more quickly to the community and abuse the same children or other children again."

Currently, when a perpetrator is convicted of multiple crimes against a child, the courts may sentence the perpetrator concurrently rather than consecutively.

"Concurrent sentencing for multiple criminal acts denies the horrific nature and impact these crimes have on children and potentially enables a perpetrator to have access to further abuse a child who has already been traumatized. By ensuring an end to concurrent sentencing and requiring that sentences for multiple abuse convictions be served consecutively, the result will be lengthier, more appropriate sentences, affording greater protection to our children and our communities," Saland added.

Additional legislation would respond to the increasing misuse of the Internet as a way to sexually exploit and abuse children. A recent study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 1 in 4 children were subjected to unwanted exposure to pictures of nude people or of sexual activity on the Internet in 2005. Child pornography is especially threatening, not only because it victimizes the children used in its production, but also creates a ripple effect on the further victimization of more children.

"Nobody could possibly argue that child pornography is harmless. The current statutory scheme of one-size-fits-all has an often unintended consequence of leniency for child pornographers and predators," said Saland. "This legislation would create a statutory amendment to provide for graduated scheme of child pornography offenses that would also be consistent with other laws, such as those pertaining to narcotics and possession of stolen property. Most importantly, it will do more to protect our most vulnerable citizens - our children," Saland concluded.