OLYMPIA — Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will speak to legislators on Wednesday about the urgency of passing a bill that attacks the child pornography industry. For the first time this session, he’ll personally appear at a public hearing for legislation that upgrades state law to better prosecute those who intentionally access images and videos of child molestations.
“This is the third year we’ve asked the Legislature to take the fight against child pornography online,” McKenna said. “This bill unanimously passed the House because lawmakers from both parties recognize the need to protect kids from being used for the sickest kind of entertainment. I’m asking the Senate to help us finish the job.”
The Attorney General-requested bill makes it a felony to intentionally view child pornography on the Internet. Today, users of child pornography—many of whom also sexually assault kids—can avoid state prosecution for possession simply by not downloading or printing the images.
The bill also responds to a State Supreme Court decision that limits to the number of charges that can be filed against someone caught with child pornography. If passed, prosecutors may bring multiple charges against such a person. Current law only allows one count of possession, no matter how many files possessed or viewed. Prosecutors say it’s not uncommon for a person to be apprehended with thousands of images and videos.
Studies show that the majority of child pornography — 58 percent — involves children under 5.
AG McKenna will testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in the
J.A. Cherberg Building, Hearing Room 1, on the State Capitol Campus.
Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725