Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights) announced legislation to strengthen the prohibition against using the Internet to solicit minors for sexual activity was approved by the Assembly Committee on Codes, clearing the way for consideration by the full Assembly (A.2012). The measure, which Brook-Krasny supports, closes a gap in the Penal Law.
“It is a constant task to protect our children from all manner of sexual solicitation and attack,” Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny said. “The Web is ready territory to lure children for the purpose of sexual abuse and we must do our utmost to put sexual predators in handcuffs when they use the Internet to prey on minors.”
Current law bans visual sexual images targeted at underage children, but a case pending in the state’s highest court raises the question of whether the use of language is prohibited under the law. Legislation, which Brook-Krasny backs, will now ban sexually graphic words transmitted over the Internet to minors, as well.
“This measure recognizes the danger of using written text as a source to promote sexually deviant behavior and lure children into sexually abhorrent acts,” Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny said. “An offender soliciting sex can do as much harm to a minor through sexually explicit words as with images. The offenders should be prosecuted just as severely whether using visual images or language.”
The bill, which has bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate, builds on laws that the Assembly helped enact last year to crack down on sexual predators.
As part of its Child Safety and Sexual Predator Punishment and Confinement Strategy, a new law drafted by the Assembly created the crime of predatory sexual assault – elevating penalties for former Class B violent felony sex crimes, such as rape, to Class A crimes with a maximum of life in prison for certain heinous acts (Ch. 107 of 2006). The Assembly also helped eliminate the statute of limitations on Class B felony sex crimes, meaning criminal charges for these crimes can be brought years, even decades later (Ch. 3 of 2006).