A bill authored by a local lawmaker to strengthen the penalties for people convicted of certain child exploitation and pornography crimes is headed to the full Senate for consideration. Sen. Randy Head’s measure would enhance penalties for offenders he describes as the “worst of the worst.”
It would increase the offense of child exploitation from a Level 5 to a Level 4 felony, punishable by anywhere from two to 12 yeas in prison if the victim is under 12 years of age and engages in bestiality, is mentally disabled or deficient, participates by the use or threat of force, physically or verbally resists participating or receives bodily injury. Child exploitation is the actual production of child pornography.
Head’s bill would also make possession of child pornography a Level 5 felony if the offense depicts or describes sexual conduct by a child who the defendant knows is less than 12 years of age, or who appears to be less than 12 years of age under the same circumstances.
The bill would also allow offenders to receive consecutive sentences on multiple counts. Head says doing so would close a loophole in the current law that lets offenders serve less time.
Senate Bill 14 passed out of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law unanimously.