A good idea gone bad: How the PA Senate sabotaged the sexual abuse prevention plan

By Randall Hayes of PARSOL

In September 2019, the increasingly prevalent and in-demand problem of online images of child sexual abuse (CSA) or “child pornography” rocked the Senate of Pennsylvania in a big way. The influential Chairman of the State Government Committee, Senator Mike Folmer, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography after uploading an image of an underage female to his Tumblr account. Following his resignation, he was eventually sentenced to a 1-2 year term of confinement and 8 years of probation.

His replacement, Senator David Arnold, is a former county-level District Attorney. Given his background as a prosecutor, the scandal surrounding Senator Folmer, and the public outrage in anticipation of a lenient-sentence double-standard for a State Senator vs. an average Joe, it did not come as a surprise when Senator Arnold introduced Senate Bill 1075 in April 2020. This bill sought to increase the penalties for child pornography crimes where abuse is depicted or victims are prepubescent.

As Legislative Director for The PA Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (PARSOL), SB 1075 came to my attention as a proposal that ran counter to our mission: A PA Safe and Just For All.

What years of research on a variety of social ills has demonstrated is that tougher penalties are not effective at reducing behavior. As a Sep. 2019 feature in The New York Times details, the unfortunate reality about images of CSA is that this material has only become more popular even as criminal penalties have become more severe.

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    • #77449 Reply

      as usual something else to make our lives tougher then they already are sad thing is my registry end date was 28th of set here i am still on it they take there sweet time dont they how long does it take to push a button

    • #77484 Reply
      Tim in WI

      It is amazing but ungodly how far ” child protection” can be had ” by law. ”
      Isn’t it queer how a claim of manifest evil in purpose in deterrent act’s necessity fruits a manifest evil more severe to liberty itself of the body whole. As explained in DOE03 “the basis of recidivism as a statutory matter in expost facto statute question.” Punishment itself carries the exact intended outcome of safety. By that measure ALL LAW has that inherent consideration and therefore a( or ant for that matter) non dispositive test is a bootless exercise precisely because ” civility” is a measure of every intent behind its adoption.

      This article highlights the weakness in over reliance of law. A problem
      faced by all.

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