The full Pennsylvania Superior Court recently reversed a horribly bad November decision by a three-judge panel. Under that decision a person could legally view images of child porn on the Internet as long as the images were not intentionally saved on the computer.
Every child pornography picture represents and documents an incident of child abuse. It also provides potential child molesters sinister material that encourages anti-social and unhealthy attraction -- which could escalate, and result in yet another child being brutally victimized.
The November decision prompted the Pennsylvania State House to pass H.B. 35 on April 17 by a vote of 195 to 0. This bill clearly states that intentionally viewing child pornography in any form is illegal.
Special note should be taken:
Child pornography has become a $3 billion annual business. Since 1988 child pornography images on the Internet have increased 1500 percent. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed, in a June 2005 study, that 40 percent of arrested child pornography possessors had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography. Convicted rapists report that two-thirds of their victims were under 18 and 58 percent of those said their victims were age 12 or under. 61 percent of violent sex offenders have a prior record. There are more than 18,000 registered sex offenders in Illinois right now. Over the next 12-18 months, that number is expected to grow to more than 27,000 -- as sex offenders are released from prison. More than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the Internet every week. The typical age of children is between six and 12, but the profile is getting younger -- more babies and toddlers are being victimized.
We cannot allow this type of illegal activity to go unchecked. Every possible step must be taken to protect our children from harm and an important step was recognizing that knowingly viewing child porn is not only wrong but illegal. The protection of our children must be of utmost concern for all.
It is why we are strongly supporting HB 1727 -- a bill that will require public libraries in Illinois to use filtering technology to block websites with this type of material. Right now, about 80 percent of Illinois' 4,000 plus libraries allow patrons unfettered access to the Internet. This means that an 8 year-old, an 48 year-old, or even an 88 year-old can intentionally or accidentally access sexually graphic website. This is completely unacceptable.
CLICK HERE to email your Illinois State Senator about HB 1727 right now.