Mo. Bill Would Make CP Offenders Financially Liable

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — New Missouri legislation would make those found guilty of child porn offenses on the hook for at least $150,000 in damages under a proposal backed by the state’s attorney general.

The legislation would apply to child porn victims younger than 14 at the time of the crime. They would have up to three years to sue after they turn 18, after the perpetrators are convicted or after authorities notify them that their images were used in child porn.

The bill is intended raise the financial stakes for the purveyors of those underage while giving private law firms an incentive to help crack down on perpetrators.

Joan Irvine, ASACP’s CEO, told XBIZ that research indicates that child porn victims can be affected their entire lives — first by the trauma of being abused and secondly because some of these images will continue in cyberspace despite efforts to remove them.

Irvine also said that the new Missouri bill might have good intentions, but it could be hard to apply.

“While increasing the damages for the crime of production, distribution and possession of sexual child abuse may give private law firms an incentive to work on these cases it would unlikely result in a significant decrease in this horrific crime,” she said. “Especially since our data shows that 95 percent of the commercial production and distribution of CP is by organized crime in the Eastern European bloc countries and Japan.”

The Missouri bill was filed last week by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, an attorney who for years has sought to increase state regulation of the adult entertainment industry.