MADIGAN’S CHILD EXPLOITATION PROTECTION ACT PASSES CRITICAL COMMITTEE VOTE
Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Representative John Bradley (D – Marion), and State Senator A.J. Wilhelmi (D – Joliet) today announced that legislation designed to provide Illinois law enforcement with greater tools for combating the use of the Internet to exploit children has passed a House committee and is on its way to the full chamber for final passage.
Madigan drafted and Bradley is the House sponsor of House Bill 5469, known as the Child Exploitation Protection Act. This bill unanimously passed the House Judiciary II Criminal Law Committee last Thursday, March 13. Senator A.J. Wilhelmi will sponsor the bill in the Senate.
“Sex offenders are increasingly using the Internet to identify and victimize children,” Madigan said. “From May 2007 to January of this year alone, we identified 1,741 registered sex offenders with profiles on MySpace, the popular social networking site. In addition, criminals are using the Internet to expand their ability to distribute child pornography.”
“I am proud to partner with Attorney General Madigan as we work to protect our children from child pornographers and other sexual predators,” Bradley said. “This legislation will allow us to take an important step forward in protecting our children and our families from those who would do them harm. Often, child pornographers lurk in the shadows, and this legislation will help shine a light on these criminals and their crimes.”
“This is important legislation that will accomplish an important goal – greater protection for the children who are growing up in an environment of instant access through technology.” Wilhelmi said. “The internet is the new playground for sex offenders. I am happy to join Attorney General Madigan and Rep. Bradley to see that this bill becomes law.”
If enacted, HB 5469 will create a comprehensive approach to strengthening Illinois law by providing the following:
The bill amends the Unified Code of Corrections to require lifetime law enforcement supervision of sex offenders convicted of (a) manufacturing child pornography, (b) disseminating child pornography, and (c) aggravated child pornography. This measure follows legislation that Madigan drafted in 2005 to require lifetime supervision for the state’s most high-risk sex offenders.
The legislation requires that when computer technicians discover child pornography during the course of doing their jobs, they must report this discovery to law enforcement. Illinois law currently requires film processors to report child pornography discovered in the scope of their work. This legislation recognizes that the vast majority of child pornography is now exchanged and traded over the Internet. As a result, it is critical to law enforcement that computer technicians, like photo processors, be required to report child pornography to police.
House Bill 5469 requires Illinois Internet service providers (ISPs) to register with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to facilitate their reporting of child pornography traded on their service. Federal law currently requires internet service providers to report child pornography to the NCMEC. Despite thousands of internet providers throughout the U.S., only 377 are registered with the NCMEC and six of those are in Illinois. If enacted, this legislation would make Illinois the first state to require that all ISPs facilitate compliance with the federal child pornography reporting requirement.