The legislature’s Judiciary Committee has passed two significant bills concerning “sexting” and child pornography said Representative Arthur J. O’Neill (R-Southbury), Ranking Member of the committee. Both measures were passed on the final day of the committee’s work on motions made by Rep. O’Neill.
The first bill, RB 5533, A Act Concerning Sexting makes the transmission by electronic device of sexually explicit depictions of subjects between the ages of thirteen and eighteen by someone in the same age range to someone else also between thirteen and eighteen a class A misdemeanor. Under previous law, teens who sent such images to one another or “sexted” each other would be guilty of possession and dissemination of child pornography which carries stiff penalties including required registration on the state’s sex offender registry.
“Teens who foolishly send such images to one another will still be guilty of a crime,” said Representative O’Neill. “However, there is a tremendous distinction between teens who send each other images of themselves, and pedophiles and predators. In this respect, the law needed to catch up with technology and assign a more appropriate penalty for the offense.”
The other bill, HB 5030, An Act Concerning the Forfeiture of Money and Property Related to Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Traficking and the Possession of Child Pornography, was proposed by Governor M. Jodi Rell. Provisions of the bill allow for law enforcement to seize the property and wealth obtained from disseminating and distributing child pornography from those found guilty of such charges. The property would be sold at public auction under the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.
“This measure handles dealers in child pornography in much the same way the law currently handles drug dealers,” said O’Neill. “Those who are found guilty will have their ill-gotten gains taken by law enforcement and sold at auction. Child pornography is a particularly heinous crime and the gains made from this criminal enterprise are unfortunately quite lucrative, just as in the illegal drug trade. This bill will ensure that those found guilty of this crime will be unable to retain any benefit from their participation in such criminal acts.”
Both bills now head to the full House of Representatives for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly concludes midnight on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010.