Government
8:04 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Proposed State Law Would Crack Down on Internet Child Porn

State lawmakers and child advocates gathered in Pittsburgh on Friday to push for a law that would further crack down on child predators, by mandating certain government officials to report the locations of known abusers.

The proposed state legislation is named for Alicia Kosakiewicz, who was lured and abducted from her Pittsburgh home by an internet predator in 2002. He took her to Virginia, where he held her captive and repeatedly sexually abused her. Now in her early 20s, she's traveling around the country, pushing for a law to crack down on such predators.

"The Pennsylvania Attorney General Mandated Reporter Law will be the first, most urgent, component of my namesake — Alcia's Law — which has become law in Virginia, home of the internet predator who abucted me, but is not yet adopted in my home state," said Kosakiewicz.

Camille Cooper with the Organization to Protect Children said there are hundreds of thousands of known offenders in the U.S.

"In Pennsylvania specifically, there are well over 20,000 known individual computers trafficking in hard-core sadistic images. Forty percent of the time that would lead directly to a child victim in Pennsylvania. The vast majority of these children are waiting for a rescue that would never come, because there are no first responders being sent out to get them," she said.

The law, proposed by State Representative Dan Deasy (D-Allegheny), would mandate attorneys general offices to report locations of known criminals. The locations are already known thanks to data tracking through several online programs, but the information is sitting dormant. That is what Deasy's bill is trying to change.

Former Congressman Patrick Murhphy, a supporter of the bill, stressed that the law would not go after people merely suspected of downloading child pornography, but rather people who have already committed criminal acts.

"We're not talking about just pictures of naked kids. I'm not trying to be too graphic, but we're talking about penetration, bondage, chains, sodomy — these are pictures of crimes scenes. It is graphic, and I apologize for having to lay it out there," he said, acknowledging how uncomfortable the topic makes many people, but stressing the need to know that it's happening so that children can be saved.

The bill's main provisions would require the attorney general to:

  • Report all suspected criminals seen trafficking in child abuse images to local law enforcement agencies within 24 hours.
  • Assist law enforcement task forces in getting those leads from existing databases out to local jurisdictions.
  • Assist local jurisdictions with investigations, child victim identification, forensic analysis, and prosecution.
  • In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare would be required to assist law enforcement in identifying all possible child victims while requiring that law enforcement serve as the lead investigative agency.

Alicia's Law has yet to be introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature, but its sponsor, State Representative Dan Deasy, said that it will be soon. Virginia, Texas, California, and Tennesse have passed similar laws in the last few years, and Alicia's Law has been introduced in Maine.