Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Attorney General McKenna's guest editorial on the AGO's child pornography bill appeared in Friday's Tri-City Herald:

Unfortunately, the internet has increased the number of kids being victimized, bringing new opportunities for current and aspiring sex offenders. Web cameras, cell phones, file-sharing sites and other technologies make the process of abusing kids for entertainment - and profit - much easier.

John Carr, of the British nonprofit Action for Children, told the Guardian newspaper, "The increased demand has made child pornography into big business and the consequences for children in all parts of the world are horrifying."

His organization is among those tracking the increase of child sexual abuse directly related to widespread access to the Internet.

That's why we've crafted legislation to attack the child pornography industry. Our proposal, HB 2424 and SB 6397, has two major elements. First, it makes it a felony to intentionally view child pornography on the internet. This allows prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person repeatedly accessed these illegal files on the internet.

Second, our bill responds to a state Supreme Court decision that effectively allows a volume discount for possessing child pornography. Under current law, an offender caught with thousands of images and videos of children being sexually abused may only face a single count of possession.

Thankfully, the bill was endorsed by the Seattle Times on Monday:

THE state Legislature should act on a pair of anti-child pornography bills.

The bill that passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate would strengthen current law by basing child-pornography criminal charges on each visual or printed item. A new crime of intentionally viewing over the Internet visual or printed matter depicting a minor would also be created.

Law enforcement needs a bigger bat to address child pornography. Tens of thousands of images are posted on the Internet every week. Children younger than 5 are featured in 58 percent of them. Those who regularly view child pornography often also molest children.

HB 2424 awaits a vote of the State Senate. Track the bill here.