Assemblyman Schimminger Introduces Legislation to Combat Internet Sex Offenses

June 1, 2006

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced today that he has introduced legislation in the State Assembly (A.10752) that would establish the crime of facilitating a sex offense through electronic communication when an individual, with intent to cause sexual contact with another person, knowingly encourages, suggests, orders, aids or otherwise participates through electronic communication with one or more persons to engage in a sex offense. The crime of facilitating a sex offense through electronic communication would be a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

An abuse case in Western New York provided the impetus for this legislation. James F. Lindgren of Jamestown, transmitted his sexual abuse of a young girl over the Internet, and persons watching are alleged to have made suggestions as to what sexual activities should be performed with the 9-year-old child.

“This young girl’s life is forever changed due to the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a pedophile. Her abuse was magnified by the use of the Internet and the ability of others to participate in her abuse, albeit from hundreds of miles away,” Schimminger said.

Currently, there are no laws in New York that specifically address persons who participate in sexual offenses by watching and encouraging them over the Internet and in some cases actively participating, even though at a distance, in the offenses through communication and suggestions by e-mail or other long-distance messaging.

“The individuals instructing Mr. Lindgren via the Internet as to his deviant actions with this child also bear responsibility for the sexual abuse of this young, innocent girl,” Schimminger said. “This bill will ensure that such individuals are held responsible for actions that encourage criminal behavior and that they cannot simply hide behind their computer screens.”

This measure is sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Mary Lou Rath.