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WEST ALLIS Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and State Representative Tony Staskunas held a press conference today at the West Allis Police Department to discuss new public safety legislation aimed at protecting children from online predators and the ongoing efforts of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and local law enforcement to fight Internet Crimes Against Children.
It remains a top priority of mine to protect our children, said Van Hollen. I support this legislation because it strengthens these efforts to protect our children while eliminating further victimization.
Working with Attorney General Van Hollen, Representative Staskunas has introduced legislation that would penalize the an online predators attempts to commit certain crimes against children the same as if the attempt was a completed act. The change is needed so that certain online sex predator cases investigated by undercover law enforcement agents can be eligible for greater sentences. If an offender sells drugs to an undercover agent, you get punished as if you were selling them to a user, Van Hollen said. Internet Crimes Against Children cases should be treated no differently. Often, undercover operations are the only way to successfully make a case against a serial online predator who uses the Internet for the purpose of facilitating sex crimes against children.
The bill also protects children from further victimization by altering criminal discovery rules in child pornography cases to guard against the inadvertent (or intentional) reproduction of the contraband. These changes align state pretrial procedure in child pornography cases with the federal procedures, Van Hollen said. By minimizing access to child pornography without impairing a defendants right to present a defense, child victims are protected from further victimization and dissemination of the contraband.
My intent is to protect our children by clarifying the law and ensuring these young victims are not further victimized, said Rep. Staskunas.
The full bill can be found at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/AB-769.pdf
The Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is led by the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. DOJ-DCI investigates Internet Crimes Against Children cases, provides assistance to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in these cases (for example, by providing computer forensic services), provides training to law enforcement and prosecutors, provides community training on issues relating to Internet safety, and coordinates statewide and regional collaboration and information sharing relating to Internet Crimes Against Children.
I want to thank Rep. Staskunas for his leadership on this important legislation, said Van Hollen.
Today, there are more than 130 Wisconsin local law enforcement agencies affiliated with the program. A list of participating agencies can be found at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/dci/icac/afflist.asp