Senate Passes Cornyn-Blumenthal Child Protection Act of 2012
by John Cornyn on November 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM
The Senate passed the Child Protection Act of 2012, introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
The bipartisan legislation seeks to protect young victims of child pornography, sexual abuse, and trafficking by strengthening law enforcement’s ability to protect victims and witnesses and apprehend perpetrators. It includes several important anti-human trafficking provisions authored by me and originally included in the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011, legislation I introduced along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).The Child Protection Act has now passed both the Senate and House of Representatives and awaits the President’s signature.
We need to provide law enforcement with every tool they need to crack down on the most vile criminals – child sex predators and traffickers – and protect the innocent young people who fall victim to these heinous crimes. This is an issue we can all agree on, and I’m pleased Congress has passed this important measure in a bipartisan fashion. I hope the President will sign this bill swiftly to bring greater justice and protection to victims and allow law enforcement to take immediate steps to stop child predators and traffickers in their tracks.
Currently, the maximum prison term for the possession of child pornography depicting minors 18 years of age and younger is 10 years. The Child Protection Act of 2012 would make the maximum prison term 20 years for the possession of child pornography depicting minors 12 years and younger – thereby creating a new, stiffer penalty for the possession of child pornography depicting the most vulnerable victims of this crime. In addition, current law authorizes courts to issue protective orders to restrain harassment of minor victims and witnesses upon the government attorney’s motion. The Child Protection Act of 2012 would authorize courts to issue these protective orders upon their own motion as well. This legislation would also make it easier for the U.S. Marshals Service to apprehend fugitive sex offenders by authorizing them to obtain administrative subpoenas when investigating these cases. Finally, this legislation reauthorizes funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, which train executive and judicial officials how to deal with cases of child sexual abuse.
Included in the Child Protection Act of 2012 are several important anti-human trafficking provisions authored by Sen. Cornyn and originally included in the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011, legislation introduced by Sens. Cornyn and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). These measures will:
- Increase the statutory maximum penalties for the possession of child pornography depicting a minor under 12 from 10 to 20 years;
- Require federal judges to issue a protective order for child witnesses who are harassed or intimidated by attorneys for their abuser or trafficker; and
- Authorize the U.S. Marshals service to issue administrative subpoenas to obtain time-sensitive documents in their investigation of fugitive sex offenders.