State poses triple threat against sexual predators
A powerful new public awareness campaign backed by tough new federal and state laws is going forward to put an end to the torture, rape and exploitation of children.
Not One More Child, a new public service announcement, was produced by the Surviving Parents Coalition and the National Association to Protect Children. The PSA dramatically demonstrates the terror experienced by each child pornography victim.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined Surviving Parents Coalition Member Ed Smart, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah Senate Majority President John Valentine, Utah State Representatives Ron Bigelow, Christopher Herrod and Paul Ray and members of the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to unveil the new PSA and encourage Utah television stations to run this important message.
Every Utahn needs to see this haunting and powerful public service announcement, says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Awareness and enforcement are needed to stop this absolute evil being directed towards our children.
Child pornography is now a multi-billion dollar industry involving more than 100,000 Web sites. One study found that 80 percent of the child porn images involved children ages 6-12 and 19 percent had images of infants and toddlers.
Child pornography is far from being harmless. These images are documented criminal evidence of children being hurt in ways few people can fathom, says Ed Smart.
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch has agreed to co-sponsor the Combating Child Exploitation Act which would put $109 million towards expanding state ICAC Task Forces, adding hundreds of federal agents, creating new forensic crime labs and a national data network.
"It is horrifying to hear story after story about children falling prey to sexual predators," says Senator Orrin Hatch. "These young victims are left with permanent physical, psychological and emotional scars. We must do everything in our power to protect our most valuable and vulnerable citizens from the dangerous individuals lurking in the shadows waiting to harm them in so many sickening ways."
Utah state legislators are also sponsoring legislation that will provide additional resources for law enforcement and significant consequences for perpetrators.
Pornographers and their accomplices are constantly digging up ways to harm our children, says Utah Senate Majority President John Valentine. We are committed to provide legal weapons to put these monsters down."
Here are some of the state bills being considered this session:
H.B. 256, Jessica's Law sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer, the penalty for attempted rape, object rape or sodomy of a child is increased to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison and the minimum penalty for rape, object rape or sodomy of a child is increased to 25 years to life.
H.B. 314, Sexual Offenses Amendments sponsored by Rep. Ron Bigelow, makes object rape a first degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison or life without parole.
H.B. 339, Human Trafficking Amendments sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod, criminalizes human trafficking and smuggling for profit, forced labor or sexual exploitation.
H.B 492, Sex Offender Notification and Registration sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, requires more comprehensive information from registered sex offenders every six months. The law would also require people convicted of aggravated kidnapping to be registered for life.
S.B. 183, Child Pornography Amendments sponsored by Sen. Chris Buttars, expands the law so a person who views child pornography is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor.
The safety of our children has to be one of our highest priorities not just in our legislature but in our society," says Representative Ron Bigelow.
More information about the Not One More Child campaign can be found at www.notonemorechild.org . Video, audio clips and pictures from the press conference, as well as a downloadable copy of the public service announcement, will also be made available at http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/PrRel/mafebruary222008.htm.