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Local Rep’s Child-Porn Bill Passes House, Senate

Marcy Toepel Authored a bill to enhance sentencing for those convicted on child pornography charges.

Marcy Toepel.  Credit: Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Marcy Toepel. Credit: Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

A bill authored by local State Representative Marcy Toepel (R-147) to enhance the punishment for those convicted on child pornography charges has passed the Pennsylvania House and Senate chambers and will head to the governor’s desk later this week.

The legislation amends Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes on Crimes and Offenses, reflecting recommendations made by the Task Force on Child Protection.

“The state Task Force on Child Protection found in a 2012 report that those who committed the offense of child pornography received a wide variety of sentences, including probation, despite the egregious nature of the offense,” Toepel said. “It is never appropriate to think that the people committing these kinds of heinous acts on a child can walk away with only probation.”

The sentencing guidelines will be enhanced across the spectrum of child pornography charges and will be based upon the age of the child victimized, the number of images possessed, and the nature and character of the abuse.

The legislation also increases the penalty if the image in question involves any indecent contact with a child.

The varying punishments handed down by judges for individuals convicted of possessing child porn has become an issue throughout the country. In 2009, for example, a former schoolteacher in Pennsylvania was convicted of possessing child pornography and served a one-day jail sentence, followed by probation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, roughly 2,800 individuals download or transmit child pornography every month in Pennsylvania. The Attorney General’s Child Predator Section (CPS) arrested 107 individuals this year, up from only 19 arrests in 2012.

“I look forward to the Governor signing my bill into law, ensuring pedophiles are held accountable for their actions,” Toepel said.

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