|Posted:||March 3, 2020 11:50 AM|
|From:||Senator David J. Arnold, Jr.|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Enhancing the penalties for child pornography|
|In the near future I will be introducing legislation that will:
That is why I am proposing that Pennsylvania enhance the criminal penalties for some of the most vile and disgusting acts committed against defenseless and vulnerable children. The criminal justice system should no longer simply penalize those who ‘only look but do not touch’ with a slap on the wrist. These penalties should be brought more in line with the offenders who are actually taking the photographs or videos and inappropriately touching young children.
According to this legislation, an individual who is convicted of possessing child pornography in which the person depicted is less than 6 years of age, or prepubescent, would receive a charge that is one grade higher than the current statute allows. According to Title 18, §6312(d.1) (Grading for sexual abuse of children) this would mean a felony of the third degree would become a felony of the second degree, and a felony of the second degree would become a felony of the first degree.
This proposal is aimed at protecting children under the age of 6, or prepubescent children, who are inherently vulnerable. These young children often lack the ability to cognitively understand the abuse they are enduring. While they may not understand it in the moment, the abuse they have suffered can last a lifetime. This legislation aims to hold those who target the youngest and most vulnerable more accountable for their appalling acts.
The second portion of this legislation deals with sentencing enhancements for those who sexually abuse children that are known to them, and would allow the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to develop guidelines for these crimes. Well over two-thirds of all children who are sexually abused are done so at the hands of a known perpetrator. It’s time to hold the individuals who commit these heinous acts accountable and provide appropriate sentences.
I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this critical legislation. We must protect our children.
Introduced as SB1075