Simotas Cracks Down on Child Pornography
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas supported legislation making it illegal to knowingly access child pornography online, bringing New York into line with federal law. This measure has passed the Assembly and is expected to become law.
“Technology is constantly changing and evolving, so we must make sure our laws are updated as well,” Simotas said. “This measure would bring New York’s law in line with federal law and protect our children, making it a crime to knowingly access child pornography on the Internet with the intent to view it.”
On May 8, the state Court of Appeals ruled that viewing child pornography on the Internet without taking further action to possess it, such as printing, downloading or saving the files, does not constitute possession of child pornography. Current state law prohibits the possession and promotion of child pornography, but doesn’t address knowingly viewing or accessing it online, Simotas noted.
“Our child pornography laws are not up to date,” Simotas said. “The Assembly’s legislation will fix this problem, catch more criminals and make sure justice is served.”
The legislation will make it a class E felony to knowingly access with the intent to view a sexual act being performed by a child less than 16 years old. In addition, this measure will clarify that attorneys are not guilty of possession of child pornography when such possession is part of the attorney’s representation of a defendant charged with a child pornography crime.
“It is important to remember that behind every piece of online child pornography, there is a child who has been abused,” Simotas said. “This legislation will go a long way toward strengthening penalties against sexual predators and protecting our children from these criminals,” Simotas said.