Monday, April 15, 2013

VT - Tougher Child-Porn Law Would Make Viewing It a Crime

Original Article

02/20/2013

By KEN PICARD

A recent spike in arrests for possession of child pornography suggests Vermont is gaining ground in the battle against this cyber crime. Since December, state and federal prosecutors have announced the felony arrests or convictions of at least eight men accused of possessing lewd, graphic and frequently violent images involving sex with children.

Now police and prosecutors who handle these cases are urging lawmakers to close a loophole in state law that allows suspects to escape prosecution if they viewed those images over the internet but didn’t actually download — and thus “possess” — them.
- If you viewed them, then they are also downloaded into your Internet browsers cache.

Under federal law it’s already illegal to view pornographic material involving anyone under the age of 18. But Vermont is one of 21 states that has not outlawed it in state statute (PDF). As a result, state prosecutors say it’s more difficult for them to secure child-porn convictions than it is for their federal counterparts.

A bill coming up for discussion this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee aims to change that. S.19 (PDF), sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), would make it illegal to “access with intent to view” photos, videos or other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving kids under 16.
- So what are the procedures to prove intent?

The problem is that our current law is based on how people used to view child pornography, which is a magazine they would hold in their hand,” says Christina Rainville, chief deputy state’s attorney in Bennington County. “It doesn’t reflect the current reality of how child pornography is looked at today, which is by surfing the web.”

The Bennington County state’s attorney’s office was at the center of a high-profile child pornography investigation last year involving [name withheld], a fifth-grade teacher in Bennington who was charged with possession of child pornography on his school-issued computer. [name withheld] consistently maintained his innocence and his attorney claimed he never viewed any of the 17 graphic images involving sex acts with children that were discovered in his laptop’s temporary cache, or others found by his wife on [name withheld]'s home computer. He never downloaded the images.
- Exactly, if you accidentally view it by clicking some like, and it wasn't your intention to view it, this shows you can still be prosecuted for it.  So what is to stop some hacker, or country, planting viruses to force your computer to view or download child porn?  How do you prove intent?


1 comment :

Fuji said...

Proving "intent" is easy. Step One: The Vermont legislature defines intent as finding more than one pornographic image on any device that the suspect has access to. Step two: Law enforcement searches for more than one image. If a second image is found then intent is legally established.


If you don't think that would happen, it already does. Most, if not all states, have laws that define a specific amount of drugs that when found in possession of a person is legally determined to be "with intent to distribute" It doesn't matter if the person had a real intent to distribute anything, but legally they are guilty of distribution.