The state senate has moved an omnibus child pornography and cyber-crimes bill to the brink of passage, clearing the Senate. Much of the proposed legislation comes from last year’s special task force study on cyber crimes. Sponsor Senator John Loudon of Chesterfield says the bill plugs several loopholes in present law. One involves cyber detectives who pose as children as they deal with internet sexual predators.
"When the predators start their activities with a detective they are getting away with a crime, in effect, exploiting a loophole on attempt," says Loudon, "It’s an attempted crime because they are not actually communicating with a child; so, they’re getting lesser sentences."
Loudon’s bill attempts to change this, making the offense the same whether the predator is dealing with a detective posing as a child, or an actual child. Another provision of the bill does would change the way evidence is distributed in these cases, so the state will no longer be forced to, as Loudon says, distribute pornography.
"The state is in this untenable position of having to copy pornography and hand it over to a defense council and ultimately the defendant," says Loudon, "Well, that puts the state in an awkward position of distributing, in effect, pornography; so, this provision goes in just like the drug laws. You can show the defense council evidence, but they can’t take it with them. You don’t have to copy it."
The bill could reach the House as early as this week.