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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 11, 2017 02:38 PM
From: Representative Marguerite Quinn
To: All House members
Subject: Cyber Abuse of a Child
In the near future, I will introduce legislation creating the offense of Cyber Abuse of a Child. I am doing so at the request of parents in my district whose teenaged daughter was stalked incessantly through social media by a man in his 40’s. Because the statements were not disparaging of the teenager, the new offense of cyber harassment of a child did not apply. My legislation is designed to address sexually explicit communications which fall outside the scope of cyber harassment of a child.

The offense is modeled in part upon cyber harassment of a child and the offense of stalking. Just like in the case of cyber harassment of a child, if the offender is a juvenile, the bill requires that the judicial authority give first consideration to referring the juvenile to a diversionary program. Just as with stalking, a person is guilty of the offense if the lewd communications place the child in reasonable fear of bodily injury or cause substantial emotional distress to the child.

An offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. However, if there is a course of conduct, the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the offender is 13 years or more older than the child, the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. The grading of the offense is enhanced one degree if the offender previously violated a protection from abuse order or a victim of sexual violence or intimidation protective order involving the same victim.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important initiative.

Introduced as HB2019