Missouri is getting closer to a law that lets victims of child pornography sue pedophiles who get their pictures from the internet. The proposal is a state version of the national “Masha’s Law, ” named for Masha Allen who will turn 18 this year. Her story of being adopted from a Russian orphanage by an American businessman when she was five and the five years of sexual abuse at his hands led to passage of the federal Masha’s Law in 2006.
Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit thinks the state needs to pass its own version of Masha’s Law because she is still being victimized. “Masha’s image has been electronically disseminated around the globe,” he says. “She is a victim not only of heinous crime at the scene but she has been victimized time and time again as pedophiles on computers in the privacy of their own homes and hotel rooms download and view Masha’s image.”
Bartle’s bill allows children molested before puberty to sue pedophiles who download their images. The proposed law lets them sue every pedophile for each time that person has downloaded the child’s image for a minimum of $150,000.
The senate is expected to send the bill to the House next week.