Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bill would make voyeurism a sex crime

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ERLANGER – A first-year state legislator has drafted a bill that he says will toughen the laws regarding voyeurism.

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, said a case involving an Independence teen inspired the legislation, which is he filing for the 2007 legislative session that reconvenes tomorrow in Frankfort.

John Morgan of Independence was ordered to serve 90 days in jail with another 90 days probated after he pleaded guilty in March to two counts of attempted voyeurism and two counts of criminal trespassing, all misdemeanors.

Assistant Kenton County Attorney Chuck Vaughn said Morgan was caught on camera peeping through a girl’s bedroom window last year.

Koenig, who has been working with Vaughn on the legislation, said under his bill anyone convicted of voyeurism would be required to register as a sex offender.

That would enable the state and the public to keep track of where offenders live, Koenig said.

The bill also toughens the penalties for voyeurism. In Morgan’s case, the teen’s parents caught him peeking in her windows by setting up a video camera outside of their Independence home.

Prosecutors used the tape to help get a conviction, but they could not prove that Morgan actually saw the girl though they could clearly show he was looking in the window.

“This bill will tighten that up,” Koenig said. “If you’re caught looking at someone in a house, you better have a good reason.”

Vaughn, the chief prosecutor for Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, said the law “needed to be cleaned up.”

“We knew he was looking in the window. We had him on video,” Vaughn said. “But we weren’t able to prove she was in the room when he was watching.”

Vaughn said prosecutors and lawmakers are learning that laws haven’t caught up with technology in many cases.

“When you are dealing with high-tech crimes, the statutes aren’t always on par with the criminals,” he said. “We’re always playing catch- up. So we have to tweak our laws from time to time to catch up with the technology.”

Koenig said he began talking to Vaughn about changing the law last year while running for the 69th House District seat.

Koenig won the seat – which covers parts of Kenton, Boone and Campbell counties – in November.

“I told Chuck it I was elected, I would work on the bill,” said Koenig, a former Kenton County Commissioner.

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