Albany (WBKW) State lawmakers are cracking down on a loophole in a child pornography law, following a recent court ruling that made it legal to view child pornography, which many says creates a dangerous gap in the law.
That decision by the State Court of Appeals earlier this month said that saving, downloading, or printing any form of child pornography is illegal, but just viewing is allowed. Now the New York State Senate has taken action to change that.
Tuesday night, the State Senate passed a bill making all intentional viewing of child pornography a crime.
"If you knowingly have in your possession or knowingly access with the intent to view sexual conduct of a child less than sixteen years old, makes it an E felony," Senator Mark Grisanti said.
"It certainly strengthens the spirit and intent of the law to show that the Senate wants to make certain that someone simply accessing child pornography intentionally is illegal," defense attorney Barry Covert added.
The bill would close a loophole left behind from a State Court of Appeals decision, and criminalize all viewing of child porn, not just saving or downloading it.
"The legislation that we passed closes the loopholes that have allowed these sick pedophiles to exploit our children," Senator Tim Kennedy said.
"As soon as the court of appeals ruling was reported, our office started to receive numerous phone calls, hundreds of emails and faxes, and the circumstance was similar with Senators throughout the state," Senator Patrick Gallivan said.
From a legal perspective, the bill makes it's easier to prosecute viewers of child porn and could also act as a preventative measure.
"Viewers of these images that thought perhaps they could get around it by not downloading the images would now certainly take note that the legislature is clearly evidencing their intent in these cases that those people should be charged as serious felony offenders," Barry Covert said,
That bill is currently in committee in the New York State Assembly, and still needs to be voted on by that committee before a full Assembly vote can happen.