Senate Votes To Strengthen Penalties Against Child Pornography

HARRISBURG – The Senate unanimously approved a bill today that would strengthen penalties for child pornography and create a new task force to help prevent children from being victimized by this heinous crime, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34).

Senate Bill 1075 would increase penalties in all cases of child pornography in which the child is under the age of 10 or prepubescent. In these cases, the bill would increase the penalty for creating child pornography from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of more than 10 years. A first offense for disseminating this sort of child pornography would also be increased from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony.

Current law only provides an increase in grading of the offense when the crime includes a depiction of indecent contact with a child. The bill would ensure that a broader range of child pornography offenders could face increased fines and prison sentences.

The legislation would also provide a sentence enhancement for offenses in which the child depicted is known to the offender.

In addition, the bill would create a special Task Force on Child Pornography to review all laws pertaining to child pornography and make recommendations to improve the investigation and prosecution of offenders. The task force will also be responsible for developing guidance and tools for sexual abuse prevention and suggesting any necessary changes to state law to help identify cases and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.

The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT: Jenn Kocher – jkocher@pasen.gov