Alabama Today: Martha Roby bill to combat horrific crimes against children passes House
America’s children are one step closer to being a littler safer after a bill sponsored by Alabama 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby passed the House on Tuesday.
H.R. 6847: the Preventing Child Exploitation Act of 2018, combats crimes such as child pornography and global sex tourism, and contains tools to fight child abuse and strengthens protections for children under the law. It also renews funding for the National Sex Offender Registry.
“It is our responsibility here in Congress to provide the strongest, most effective tools available to confront, fight, punish, and ultimately prevent horrific crimes against children,” said Roby. “Our children are perhaps the greatest and most precious responsibility given to us. They are vulnerable, innocent, and wholly dependent upon us to protect them. Because of this, both our legal protections for children and the punishments for those who do them harm must be as strong as possible.”
The bill itself contains four Judiciary Committee bills that have previously been approved by the House of Representatives:
- H.R. 1842: the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act — makes communities safer by enhancing penalties for sex offenders who fail to register in the national sex offender registry and then commit a crime of violence. It also ensures enhanced penalties for child exploitation crimes apply equally to all dangerous sex offenders by assuring those convicted of certain sex offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice are subject to the enhanced penalties applicable to recidivists under current law.
- H.R. 1862: the Global Child Protection Act — authored by Rep. Roby, the legislation combats global sex tourism by closing loopholes that allow child predators to go unpunished for their abuse of children overseas. Specifically, the bill expands the conduct covered for child sexual exploitation cases that involve abuse occurring abroad to include sexual contact. It also broadens the offenses covered in the recidivist enhancement provisions in current law to protect the youngest of child victims.
- H.R. 1761: the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act — protects child pornography victims by remedying a federal court ruling in United States v. Palomino-Coronado. This decision allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence that he had engaged in sexual abuse of a seven-year-old child, because the court found that he lacked the specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. To address this loophole in the law, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act adds additional bases of liability to the crime of child pornography production to prevent this heinous crime and bring criminals to justice.
- H.R. 1188: the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act — reauthorizes the two primary programs of the Adam Walsh Act—the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and the Sex Offender Management Assistance Program—for five years and makes targeted changes to make the system more efficient and just. These programs help prevent child abuse by ensuring the public has access to information on known sex offenders who may live in their neighborhoods.
The bill passed the House by a voice vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.