Kansas bill addresses trade of online child pornography

Kansas Bill Addresses Trade Of Online Child Pornography

TOPEKA, Kan. – “Felons convicted of trading child pornography online should be required to register as sex offenders,” according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

“This is a matter of the law needing to catch up with technology,” Schmidt said. “Sadly, as the methods of distributing visual depictions of children being sexually abused have expanded, so too must the legal tools available to respond to that sort of illegal behavior that harms kids. This added tool is needed to help prevent more kids from becoming victims.”

Schmidt’s request prompted Senate Bill 368.

Bill Requirements for Convictions of Online Child Pornography

Senate Bill 368 would require individuals convicted of internet trading in child pornography to register as sexually violent offenders. It would also apply to those convicted of aggravated internet trading in child pornography.

Current Law

Currently, law requires those convicted of exploitation of a child to register as a sexually violent offenders. But it doesn’t include those who trade images of children being sexually abused on the internet.

“In effect, a conviction for the possession of sexually explicit images of a child … is a registerable offense while the distribution of the same images on the internet is not,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Melissa Johnson of Schmidt’s office testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. “By requiring registration for individuals convicted of these offenses in Kansas, it will provide important information to parents and law enforcement in their continued work to provide safety for Kansas children.”

Current Kansas law makes it a felony to:

  • knowingly share images of someone sexually abusing a child by way of any electronic device connected to the internet.

Once convicted,

  • the penalties for the related crimes of internet trading of child pornography and aggravated internet trading of child pornography range from probation to life imprisonment.
  • Penalties depend on factors including the age of the child victim.

However, current law does not require persons convicted of these crimes to register as sexually violent offenders. The proposed legislation would extend registration requirements to these crimes.

Schmidt’s office testified to legislators on the matter. His office says there’s a strong correlation between collecting and disseminating child pornography and contact offenses against children.

So, they say, adding a registration requirement to these online sex crimes against children will help protect vulnerable populations.

Kansas Senate Bill 368 on offender registration act